Valeo is showing its Blind Spot Detection (BSD) - a radar-based system that continuously scans the driver's blind spot - at Frankfurt this year. The system has been developed by Valeo Raytheon Systems (VRS) - a joint venture between Valeo and defence company Raytheon. Valeo Raytheon Systems expects series production to begin in 2006.

In most vehicles, blind spots exist on both sides of the vehicle. When another car comes up to overtake, for several seconds the driver of the vehicle being overtaken cannot see the faster car without looking over his or her shoulder.

Overtaking, changing direction, moving off or joining a stream of traffic - these are the situations in which the driver makes most use of the mirrors, and that glance over the shoulder can make all the difference. In 2002, more than one accident in ten on German roads was due to driver errors in one of these scenarios. Valeo says that at times like this, a BSD system could take the uncertainty out of the situation for the driver and ultimately lead to a drop in the number of accidents.

The system devised by VRS comprises one sensor on each side of the vehicle, both continuously monitoring the lateral area alongside and to the rear of the vehicle. If an object such as an overtaking vehicle appears in the monitored area - i.e. the blind spot - an icon in the door mirror alerts the driver.

The radar is a multi-beam system operating in a narrow band width of 24GHz. By using several beams to recognize objects in the blind spot, the system can also determine the position and distance of the object as well as its relative speed. The radar has a range of between 0.5 and 40 meters. The VRS Blind Spot Detection system monitors the area backward of the door mirrors to approximately one car-length behind the rear bumper, and is suitable for installation in cars, commercial vehicles and buses.

The BSD sensor technology works in all weather conditions and is described as easy to accommodate on a vehicle, fitting neatly behind the bumper fascia, for example. The sensor input can also be utilized for other applications. Valeo Raytheon Systems expects series production to begin in 2006.

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