LONDON, UK: Blind Spot Detection (BSD) systems first began to appear in top-of-the-line consumer vehicles around 2005, with Volvo leading the way. In 2011, such systems will be available on high-volume models such as the 2012 Ford Focus and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. By 2016, annual BSD installations are forecast by ABI Research to reach 20 million (just over 25 percent of the predicted world vehicle market), with a worldwide market value of over $12 billion.
“Blind spot detection has struggled for recognition in its early days as a standalone application,” says principal analyst David Alexander, “perhaps because it has been unfairly classified as a feature for less-competent drivers. But now the feature is becoming more popular because it’s now better understood that the experienced driver can activate the turn signal to execute an extra check before changing lanes.”
More recently, with the introduction of radar-based systems, additional functionality has made the BSD option even more attractive. The emergence of cross traffic alert is probably the most significant event, because it offers the driver information about local traffic that is not available elsewhere.
“Another enhancement to the blind spot monitoring feature is lane change assist,” says research director Larry Fisher. “This feature uses the sensors to check for approaching vehicles up to 50 meters rearward as well as making sure there is no obstacle in the blind spot. An extra warning is given to the driver when the turn signal is activated and another vehicle is either already overtaking or approaching rapidly.”
BSD can also be linked to lane-keeping systems that can provide steering or individual wheel braking to help the driver stay in lane. By bundling the two systems together as many manufacturers are starting to, drivers get machine vision to help them stay in lane and be safer when deciding to move out of the current lane.