Safety’s in front for Audi

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

HI-tech safety fea­tures have again won awards for Audi.

The Ger­man man­u­fac­turer has re­ceived its sec­ond Euro New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gram ad­vanced award, this time for its ‘‘Pre-Sense front plus’’ tech­nol­ogy.

Its first Euro NCAP ad­vanced award was for its side-as­sist sys­tem, avail­able in the cur­rent model A4.

Pre-Sense front plus has two long-range radars on the front of the car, which help to avoid or mit­i­gate rear-en­der crashes.

In Europe, it is avail­able as an op­tion in the A6, while in Australia it has been avail­able in the A8 since its launch as part of an op­tion pack­age worth $9080.

The pack­age in­cludes adap­tive cruise con­trol that works down to 0km/h and lane as­sist that ac­tively keeps the car in its lane.

Audi spokesman Shaun Cleary says that take-up of the op­tion pack­age is about 10 per cent.

Audi is also work­ing on a new dig­i­tal rearview mir­ror that will give a clear and safe im­age even in low-light sit­u­a­tions such as night, fog or rain when tyre spray ob­scures the driver’s vi­sion of the road. It is be­ing tested in the Le Mans 24 Hours next month in the Audi R18 LMP sports pro­to­type, which does not have a rear win­dow.

Cleary says that the mir­ror is a joint project be­tween Audi AG’s tech­ni­cal depart­ment and Audi Mo­tor­sport and there is no time­frame for it to be in­tro­duced to pro­duc­tion cars.

Audi Mo­tor­sport boss Wolf­gang Ull­rich says the sys­tem uses a tiny roof­mounted cam­era that trans­mits the in­for­ma­tion as dig­i­talised data.

‘‘This gives us a whole host of ben­e­fits,’’ Ull­rich says. ‘‘The op­er­a­tion of the mir­ror is weather-neu­tral.

‘‘By con­trast, when us­ing out­side mir­rors, heavy water spray se­verely im­pairs the driver’s field of vi­sion when it rains.

‘‘For the new dig­i­tal mir­ror, we worked out var­i­ous day and night driv­ing modes. Even when a ri­val ap­proaches from the rear with high-beam head­lights the im­age is su­perb and not just a glar­ing light spot.’’

In­stead of con­ven­tional light-emit­ting diodes, it uses an ac­tive ma­trix OLED (AMOLED) dis­play, which can show multi-coloured images and also of­fer bet­ter res­o­lu­tion, thanks to smaller pix­els of about 0.1mm in di­am­e­ter.

‘‘There­fore, even at 330km/h, we’re achiev­ing a to­tally fluid im­age flow in real-time trans­mis­sion,’’ Ull­rich says.

‘‘The sys­tem was ini­tially in­stalled in an Audi R8 in which we sent Mar­cel Fassler and Marco Bo­nanomi out to test it in road traf­fic.

‘‘To­day, the sys­tem func­tions per­fectly in the Audi R18 LMP race car. I’m sure that we’ll be able to re­turn valu­able find­ings to our col­leagues in TE.

‘‘We in­te­grated the sys­tem into the ve­hi­cle pack­age in an ex­tremely small space and re­duced the aero­dy­namic ef­fects of the cam­era and en­ergy con­sump­tion to a min­i­mum.

‘‘The in­ten­sity of the de­mands in mo­tor­sport, such as at the Le Mans 24 Hours, will cause such a sys­tem to ma­ture at an ac­cel­er­ated pace,’’ Ull­rich says.

‘‘If the dig­i­tal rearview mir­ror is in­tro­duced in pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cles at a fu­ture time, our con­sumers will yet again profit from a sys­tem that has been suc­cess­fully tested in mo­tor­sport as well.’’

Audi is mak­ing its name be­yond lux­ury, ac­cru­ing ac­co­lades for its safety fea­tures

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