Creating the Cars of the Future...New Technology Boosts Safety and Comfort

Evolution of "Connected Cars"--More Than Just a Means of Transport

The automobile is evolving tremendously. Systems such as self-driving on freeways and automated parking, for example, are being developed and, within a few years, we can expect to see cars equipped with automated lane-changing, overtaking and merging systems as well as drive-through toll payment technology.

This progress is being driven by the latest technology. The car is no longer simply a means of getting from A to B; it is transforming into a "connected" vehicle serving as just another one of the mobile information terminals we use in our daily lives. This so-called "connected car" is constantly connected to the Internet and provides us with new levels of comfort and convenience in a familiar environment.

The Fujitsu Group is working on the development and commercialization of a range of exciting new technologies for the cars of the future designed to improve safety and provide a better driving experience.

Facial Recognition Technology in the Rear-view Mirror

In the not-too-distant future, the first thing you will do after getting into your car is to look in the rear-vision mirror. The anti-theft facial recognition system will instantly identify you as an authorized driver, then start the engine and switch the screen to your personalized configuration of speedometer and navigation instruments. The screen will be tailored to your age and physique, providing maximum visibility to enhance the driving experience.

The driver authorization system uses iris authentication, a highly accurate technology that analyzes the intricate ridge patterns of the iris (the black portion of the eyeball) to generate unique identifying information.

This technology is featured in the latest route planning systems, which represent a significant improvement on conventional navigation systems. High-speed analysis of a range of real data factors such as previous journeys, driving behaviors, and traffic and weather conditions is used to generate intelligent predictions that are incorporated to personalized route suggestions for each individual driver.

Detection of Distances between Vehicles and Erratic Driving Behavior to Ensure Safety on the Road

Even the safest driver cannot be prepared for every eventuality. The collision avoidance system monitors the distance from the vehicle in front, and applies the brakes or adjusts the speed in order to maintain a safe separation between vehicles at all times.

Millimeter-wave radars mounted on the front and rear of the vehicle provide accurate readings of vehicle-to-vehicle distance as well as vehicle speed and direction. The collision avoidance system is alerted as soon as a potential danger is identified.

Similarly, the lane-departure warning system uses cameras to monitor the vehicle position relative to lane markings on the road and alerts the driver if the vehicle deviates from the lane. Unlike conventional wide-angle cameras, the system has no problem recognizing curves in the road and immediately detects when the vehicle strays out of its lane.

All data from onboard systems is combined with location information and a variety of other sensor-generated data in real time and uploaded to the cloud. Aggregated information is used to identify accident hotspots and time zones and analyze potential traffic congestion situations, and the results are forwarded to the driver in real time.

Drowsiness Warning System Helps Drivers to Stay Alert after Extended Periods behind the Wheel

It is easy to become tired after many hours of driving. Fujitsu has invented a heart rate sensor that clips to the ear and monitors the driver for minute changes in heart rhythm that indicate drowsiness. A combination of vibration and sound alerts is used to prevent the driver from falling asleep at the wheel.

For those who are capable drivers but are bad at parking, Fujitsu has the solution: an ingenious multi-angle vision video system that prevents collisions during parking. The system generates bird's-eye view images and images with the vehicle itself appearing translucent. It also identifies pedestrians, vehicles and other obstacles that the driver may have been missed.

The system uses four cameras mounted front and rear and also in the side mirrors. The images are combined using 3-D technology to produce an intuitive 360° display of the vehicle and surroundings.

It will not be long before all new cars are fitted with a variety of safety systems designed to prevent accidents and enhance the driving experience.

Several of the systems described here will be exhibited at the Fujitsu booth of the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 from October 30 to November 8 at Tokyo Big Sight.