Published by Mike Brodeur, Web Developer

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to cars, I’m much more of an old school type of person. To me, all the new gadgets and gizmos on newer cars are just more things that can break. And, unfortunately, they are not that inexpensive or easy to repair when they break. So, when it came time to replace my car due to a complete turbo failure, you can understand why the latest and greatest electronic wizardry wasn’t going to sway my decision on what I should buy.

That was then.

It was not long after I got my new (well, new to me) Honda Accord. Yes, it had all the bells and whistles, and the technology was surprisingly impressive. And yet, I still reflect on when I was learning how to drive, remembering those lessons that I still carry with me to this day.

As an example, I was always taught if the car is moving in any direction, this is the direction where I should be looking. That made sense to me. Staring into a little computer screen rear-view camera on my center console, facing forward while my car was moving backwards, was completely foreign to me. It took a little getting used to, but I finally developed my own hybrid approach where I blended the old lessons with some of the new. I had the technology, so why not use it.

It wasn’t easy to get into the habit of changing where I looked when the car was moving. However, over a relatively short period, it became more and more natural to combine looking through the back window when in reverse while also sneaking a quick glance at the screen which displayed my rear mounted camera.

Then it happened.

I had gone down to a sub shop in the plaza not too far from my house. After running in and grabbing my sandwich, I wandered out to my car to return home. As I put the car in gear, I immediately turned around and looked straight out the back window as I had been taught to do. Then, as I started to back out of the parking place, I glanced at the center screen. There, to my astonishment, were two small children standing right in the center of my backup camera.

I immediately hit the brakes and brought the car to a stop. I had never seen them. When I turned around to look out my back window, I looked right over the trunk lid and never even glimpsed them because they weren’t even as tall as the trunk lid on my car. If I hadn’t taken that split second to steal a glance at my rear facing camera…well, I don’t even really want to think about it.

This incident really made me think about my acceptance of automotive safety technology and its role in how I drive. I used to be of the mindset, “I don’t need cameras to show me what’s near me, I’ll just look out the window” or, “why do I need all those fancy sensors when I can just pay attention?” Unfortunately, it took a near miss for me to lend credence to all the safety technology available.

Through this experience, I gained a new appreciation for the Rogers technologies that power innovations in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Several Rogers RF Solutions can be found in radar sensors used for automotive safety applications, including:

  • Rear cross-traffic alerts – As an alternative to the back-up camera for helping drivers to safely back out of parking space, radar sensors on the rear corners of the vehicle can detect pedestrians or vehicles behind the car and trigger a warning sound to alert the driver.
  • Blind spot detection – Rear radar sensors can also help drivers safely change lanes in traffic. When the radar sensors detect an obstacle in the vehicle’s blind spot, the driver may see a warning light appear on the side mirrors.
  • Adaptive cruise control – Radar sensors can also be found on the front of the car for functions like adaptive cruise control. During highway driving, adaptive cruise control technology keeps a set distance between the vehicle and the car in front of it, automatically adjusting the car’s speed to maintain a safe distance.

Will I embrace all the new technologies in vehicles on the market? That might take some time. I have come to understand, however, that using this type of technology doesn’t have to define me as a driver. It is one more tool that is at my disposal to help protect both me and those around me when I’m driving. And yet, over relying on technology is just as dangerous as well. For example, only staring at a backup camera and not being aware of the surroundings is very dangerous.

For me, the change took some time. But now I’m finding that I don’t need to be completely reliant on safety technology. Rather, it is an additional piece of safety that goes along with common sense and safe practices. And that is not something to be afraid of.

Rogers Solutions for ADAS and Active Safety

Active safety technologies are enabled by innovative ADAS and use several sensor technologies, including radar, to detect conditions that may lead to a collision. Rogers is a technology and market leader in innovative material solutions, providing high performance printed circuit board (PCB) laminates for automotive 24 GHz and 77 GHz radar sensor applications enabling active safety. Contact us to learn more about Rogers RF Solutions for active safety.

Published on Jul 28, 2022

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