Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are assisting the Department of Transportation (DOT) by developing tests for a crash avoidance system that could substantially reduce the number of rear-end, road departure and lane change accidents. About 1,836,000 such accidents occur annually, or 48 percent of police-reported cases a year.
DOT's "Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety System" (IVBSS) for light vehicles and trucks is a single crash avoidance system under development that combines technologies used in separate warning systems. It is intended to simultaneously detect and warn drivers of any of three different forms of crashes at different speeds and in specified driving situations. The integration of individual systems is expected to increase safety benefits, improve overall system performance, reduce system cost, and enhance consumer and fleet acceptance.
NIST has designed preliminary test procedures that address DOT's needs. An IVBSS developer, under contract with DOT, will use the NIST tests to measure the performance of the safety system, as well as its components, such as sensors and warning algorithms. NIST-derived performance tests will include ways to determine the system's ability (1) to warn drivers of possible collisions between the front of their vehicles and the rear of a stationary lead vehicle or decelerating vehicle; (2) to detect a moving vehicle in adjacent lanes and the host car's drift toward them, (3) to identify the presence of parked cars, guardrails or other roadside objects and determine the available maneuvering room.
NIST will observe the contractor's tests during the multiyear development effort, as well as conduct its own independent tests and report the results to DOT. DOT will use the data to decide whether warning system performance is adequate to proceed with installing the new system in about 10 vehicles for tests on the highway. DOT plans to complete the field operational test in approximately four years. Afterward, fully integrated warning systems may become available as options on U.S. automobiles.