To improve the likelihood of keeping vehicles in one piece, Continental has developed ACDIS, or Active Distance Support. This is a system that increases safety when driving in congested traffic by providing drivers with intuitive feedback on the distances between vehicles. For instance, if a car fitted with ACDIS moves close to a slower-moving vehicle driving in front, the system will generate a force on the car’s accelerator pedal to counteract any downward pressure exerted by the driver. And if this subtle hint is not heeded, ACDIS will activate the brakes and cause the accelerator pedal to vibrate.
The system is designed to gain a driver’s attention in a way that causes them to automatically respond in an appropriate way. "A driver might overhear bells or buzzers and overlook warning telltales on the instrument panel, but a vibrating gas pedal sends a clear message that can’t go unnoticed," says Bernd Gebhart, head of the Chassis Electronics Business Center at Continental’s Automotive Systems division.
Gebhart added that research studies provide evidence showing that concentrating on maintaining a safe distance can fatigue drivers, especially during long distance journeys. Records kept by the German motoring organisation ADAC confirm this statement, as in 2005 alone 79,000 rear end collisions involving injuries or fatalities were reported.
According to Continental, at a speed of 100 km/h ACDIS can reduce the braking distance by up to ten metres and the speed of impact in the event of a collision by up to 40 km/h. The ACDIS system will become commercially available in 2008.