Making cars ever-more exciting to drive while at the same time improving road safety are two key components for maintaining pole position in automotive manufacturing. Cutting-edge radar research at Birmingham over two decades has power-steered the industry into the 21st century.
Our communications engineers have been involved in the research and development of ‘adaptive cruise control’ (ACC) radar and ‘blind spot monitoring’ (BSM) from the very beginning.
Both are now integral to the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) range (since 2008, JLR has sold more than 47,000 vehicles equipped with ACC and more than 126,000 with BSM) and other car manufacturers are also incorporating it into their vehicle design. Birmingham’s research in this sector continues to lead the way in the UK.
ACC enables a vehicle to automatically adjust its speed, by controlling the throttle and brakes, to maintain a safe distance from a target vehicle ahead and other objects nearby.
Our engineers have also worked on pedestrian and collision-avoidance systems, such as investigating the effects of rain and spray and radar interpretation of vehicles, pedestrians, animals, bicycles and road infrastructure.
The work we’ve done here in Birmingham has had such impact that we were integral to the EU Technical Committee setting the European radio frequency spectrum standard on automotive radar. We provided radar expertise to the committee, which included members from Birmingham, BMW, Daimler Benz, Fiat, Volvo, M/A Com, Siemens and GEC Plessy.
We have delivered training programmes in ‘understanding automotive radar: theory, practice and current development’ to Jaguar Landrover.
Our research has helped to improve vehicle efficiency, capability and road user safety. Optimum vehicle progress control offers environmental benefits by reducing energy wastage through inappropriate driving and also lessens damage to the terrain.
Thanks to our research and development work, cars worldwide are now more exciting as well as safer to drive.