Japanese automaker Honda is to launch what it describes as the world’s first predictive cruise control system, capable of foreseeing unpredictable behaviour of other drivers.
The system, using a camera and radar to sense its environment to detect the position of other vehicles, can smoothly react to other drivers suddenly cutting into the lane of the vehicle equipped with the system from parallel lines.
In the heart of the system, which Honda calls Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC), is an intelligent algorithm calculating the changes in the position of the surrounding vehicles.
To create the algorithm, the car-maker conducted an extensive survey of driving styles typical in Europe, where the system will debut later this year integrated into Honda's European CR-V model.
Unlike the existing Adaptive Cruise Control System, which only adjusts speed in order to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, the intelligent system also takes into consideration vehicles in parallel lanes.
Whereas the old system would only react to a sudden cutting-in with a delay, thus requiring abrupt braking, the intelligent upgrade computes the behaviour of the dangerously acting vehicle ahead and provides five seconds for a smoother response.
“i-ACC is a significant breakthrough and a considerable further step towards a new generation of driver-assistance systems that anticipate the behaviour of other traffic participants,” said Jens Schmuedderich, responsible for i-ACC at Honda Research Institute Europe.
The system can automatically recognise whether the car travels on a road in continental Europe or in the UK and identifies which neighbouring vehicles are the most critical at any given moment.
The announcement comes in what has been a rather humiliating week for Honda, which has been fined $70m in penalties by the US government for failing to report hundreds of injury- and fatality-involving accidents.
A result of an investigation by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the fine is a continuation of the faulty Takata airbag saga in which Honda has been involved as one of the affected car-makers.
Eight of the incidents, which the Japanese car-maker failed to report, involved the exploding Takata airbags currently subject to worldwide recalls.
"One thing we cannot tolerate and will not tolerate is an automaker failing to report to us any safety issues, because if we don't know about these problems, we're missing an essential piece of the puzzle in the recall efforts we use to fix them and to protect the public," US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.
The automaker had earlier attributed the shortcomings to data entry and computer programming errors, and said it had relied on an "overly narrow interpretation" of its legal reporting requirements
"We have resolved this matter and will move forward to build on the important actions Honda has already taken to address our past shortcomings in early-warning reporting," Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America commented.
The company said it was initiating new training regimens, changing internal reporting policy and enhancing oversight of its early warning reporting process.