Magna brings camera-based driver assistance systems to volume markets

December 05, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Magna International has developed a driver assistance system that uses a single, forward-looking video camera to provide safety and convenience features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings. More affordable than comparable systems, the Magna system has recently launched on General Motors vehicles in the North American market, available as an option on the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.

In the development of this camera-based driver assistance system, Magna Electronics has partnered with Dutch vision technology provider Mobileye. The first product to be introduced was the Lane Departure Warning system based on the EyeQ1, launching also with General Motors on the Cadillac STS and DTS and Buick Lucerne. The current product is based on the second generation Mobileye processor, the EyeQ2.

The system will go into production on multiple platforms with multiple OEMs in various markets around the world, Magna announced without however elaborating on brands and OEM names. According to Magna, the system addresses market demand for an affordable driver assistance system which seeks to prevent two serious types of accidents: rear-end collisions, which are the most common type of vehicle accident, and lane departure accidents, which are the most deadly.

Statistics from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that, the single largest driver related factor for road fatalities occurs when a single vehicle departs from the road and crashes. NHTSA has identified lane departure avoidance systems that track vehicle position within a lane as being shown to be effective in reducing the number of relevant crashes. With more than 1.8 million rear-end collisions reported every year in the United States alone, this is the most common type of automobile accident.

For lane departure warning, a video camera located behind the windshield is coupled with an advanced image processor to automatically detect lane markings. The system alerts drivers who might unintentionally stray from the lane being traveled. To reduce nuisance alerts, the system will not provide an alert if the turn signal is activated by the driver or if the driver makes a sharp maneuver.

When the system's lane departure warning is engaged, a driver about to cross a detected lane marking without signaling is alerted in two ways: an amber indicator light located in the instrument panel flashes, and an alerting chime of three