Volkswagen is the latest automaker to announce a suite of new active safety technologies designed to make roads everywhere a little safer. With a host of new and upcoming technologies, VW wants to significantly reduce the number of traffic fatalities for passengers and pedestrians, as well as the total number of vehicle collisions.
Those technologies include Park Assist 3, remote control parking, trailer assist, second-generation area view, emergency assist, construction site assistant, blind spot monitor, CAR2X safety, city emergency braking, and a PreCrash occupant protection system.
Now in its third generation, Volkswagen's automated parking assist feature can park forward into a perpendicular parking spot and parallel park. The system can also stop the vehicle to prevent or minimize a collision. A surroundings map monitors the position of all four wheels to make it easier to park near a curb. Future VWs may facilitate parking with rear-axle steering.
Remote control parking allows the driver to park the car via a smartphone or remote control if the spot is large enough for the vehicle, but not wide enough to open the doors. We first heard about a similar technology from Audi earlier this year. The VW system can also move the car out of a parking spot if the drive cannot get in. With the car positioned head on into the spot, the remote control parking feature will move the car one car length forward (or backward).
A Trailer Assist system steers the vehicle while backing up for precise placement of the trailer and vehicle. The driver only operates the accelerator and brake pedals. An available external camera can be mounted on the trailer to see behind it while backing up.
The latest version of the camera-based Area View provides high-resolution images to show obstacles around the vehicle and can give steering directions to maneuver around obstacles. VW's blindspot monitoring and rear traffic alert systems can stop the vehicle if a collision is deemed imminent, as the driver backs out of a parking space.
Emergency Assist takes control of the throttle, steering, and braking to keep the car in its lane or bring to a stop if the driver doesn’t respond to steering prompts from the Lane Assist system. The construction zone assistant gives steering prompts or can assume steering control when driving through narrow lanes including between temporary guard rails or cones as well as near construction vehicles and through lane shifts.
CAR2X safety is a vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-traffic-signal communication system that uses a public wireless network to communicate with other vehicles as well as traffic signals about potential road hazards before they come into view.
Drivers are warned by the City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring system, which uses cameras and radar to detect pedestrians in the vehicle path. If the driver doesn’t react to the warnings the system can bring the vehicle to a stop.
Like Volvo, Volkswagen hopes its driver assist and active safety systems will bring the number of fatalities caused by its vehicles close to zero. We've seen similar systems start to make their way to luxury cars, but it appears it won't be long before the safety systems are offered on more mainstream brands including Volkswagen.