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Can Contact Sensors Help Save Unattended Vehicles from Damage?

By Enterprise Technology Review | Thursday, January 16, 2020

Though unpleasant, it has become common for people to notice scratches, dents, and other damages on their unattended vehicles when they return home. Can this be avoided?

FREMONT, CA: Most of the people go through an unpleasant experience of their unattended vehicle being scratched or having dents from another vehicle leaving or entering a neighboring parking spot. Keeping this issue in mind, some companies have introduced sensors that possess the ability to pick up the sound signal of low-speed automobile impact to detect such damages.

The miniaturized Contact Sensor System (CoSSY) provides an added security margin for automated parking systems. According to the sound signal picked up by

CoSSY, the vehicle is brought to an immediate emergency stop by the detected low-speed impact. The new sensor system can differentiate between knocks, airborne sound, dents, and scratches and can be utilized in multi-purpose applications, which includes vandalism detection as well.

The sensor system gives a redundant signal path that the function of safety requires. It detects items or objects that might be located outside the short-range detection cone of other kinds of sensors. This scalable system includes two to twelve sensors integrated at relevant locations on the vehicle. Once incorporated, its sensor signals can encompass more numerous use-cases.

The system is designed for supporting other functions as well, like sensing particular road conditions, detecting the driver via voice recognition, or identifying approaching emergency vehicles. Besides, it can also enable communication with the vehicle via touch.

Signals like airborne sound and structure-borne sound provide valuable information about immediate vehicle surroundings. The system is uniquely designed to pick up the pattern of the sound of several kinds of contact. For instance, structure-borne sound gives warning on hitting an obstacle at the low-speed level of automated parking.

The structure-borne sound can be used by the first generation of the system as an indicator of contact with an obstacle during automated parking.

The sensor signal can also be utilized to activate the appropriate camera to click a photograph of the situation or to make the other driver aware of the vehicle’s contact by sounding alarm. This will help in preventing people from vandalism and avoid unintended hit-and-run scenarios. It also makes it easy for the rental car companies to check the status of the car as undamaged when the vehicles are returned.