crashes. The software, developed under Goudy’s lead, enables a vehicle to read the V2V messages, determine if a crossing-car crash is imminent, and warn the driver accordingly. The algorithm also predicts and reacts to potential head-on crashes in left-turn scenarios. Nissan’s solution is indeed unique, earning its engineering crew 11 patents, with six more pending.
To understand its full lifesaving power, however, it’s best to look at what V2V can do. The technology, which uses a credit card-sized transceiver board communicating at 5.9-GHz, saves lives by warning drivers of many hazardous scenarios. Hazards include impending collisions at blind intersections (like those patented by Nissan), blind-spot lane changes and potential rear-end collisions, among others. V2V cars would recognize hard braking as far as a quarter mile ahead and relay that to other vehicles behind them, enabling them to slow down.
“It goes beyond what an autonomous car can do,” Goudy told us. “It’s not just some signature from a sensor that has to be characterized. It’s high-level information. We’re sending messages with speed information, acceleration information and GPS information that can be acted on immediately.”
NHTSA has said that the new communication technology will save more lives than seat belts, airbags, and stability control systems … combined. Its experts predict it could eliminate about 80% of the fatalities that occur on U.S. highways every year.
Ironically, Goudy never foresaw himself doing anything close to what he’s doing now. After earning a B.S. in metallurgical engineering from the University of Washington and aiming for a job in the steel industry, Goudy joined the U.S. Air Force, where he worked on guidance systems. He later earned an M.S. in physics from the University of Utah and moved to Japan to work in the auto industry. Ultimately, he ended up back in the U.S., developing intelligent transport systems for Nissan.
“Early on, the prospect of working in the auto industry never even registered with me,” he told us. “But, then again, when I graduated from college, we didn’t even have cell phones.”
Now, however, Goudy sees radio frequency communication as a major lifesaving force. And he believes that every automaker can make a difference. “It’s up to our individual creativity and ingenuity to say, ‘What can I do with this (V2V) information? How can I use it to prevent an accident?’” he said. “That’s where the intellectual property comes in – the way we use the data is our secret sauce.”
Toyota crashworthiness engineer Jason Hallman is developing better ways to understand accidents and prevent fatalities.
|Toyota engineer Jason Hallman says engineers need to keep improving on automotive crashworthiness because accidents will always be with us. (Source: Toyota)|
Jason Hallman can picture a perfect world where automotive crashes don’t exist.
Unfortunately, that picture-perfect world won’t arrive for a long time. “I imagine there will be a point where it’s true,” he told Design News recently. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen in my career.”
That’s why there’s still a need for Hallman. Hallman, who’s responsible for advanced development