Q: What’s on the 12- to 24-month product-innovation horizon in terms of technology that will improve safety?
Robin Milavec, Nexteer Automotive: As a motion control specialist, we believe Steer-by-Wire (SbW) technology will be influential because it opens the gateway to greater levels of safety and performance for all driving scenarios, from driver assistance to fully automated driving. For example, SbW can enhance stability control and shorten braking distances and it’s a preferred enabler for automatic emergency steering – a game-changing safety feature. Cyber security is another quickly evolving safety area in connected environments. We’re currently integrating multi-layer cyber security at the steering-system level. Lastly, I’ll mention high-output electric power steering, which enables safety features for heavy-duty trucks and light commercial vehicles – items such as lane-keep assist, crosswind compensation, trailer assist and more.
John Moyer, Asahi Kasei: At Asahi Kasei, we want to expand the definition of safety beyond crash protection, via our Healthy Car Portfolio of products. These innovations include anti-microbial, odor-eliminating, and germ-free textiles from Sage Automotive Interiors; plastics from Asahi Kasei Plastics North America; and UV-C LEDs from Crystal IS that sanitize cabin air and eliminate pathogens. Through our Senseair collaboration with the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program, we developed a non-contact sensor that meets the new SAE standard for detecting high concentrations of alcohol on drivers’ breath and helps stop drunk driving. We’ve also made significant advances in battery-separator performance and specialty materials to make EV battery packs safer.
Kevin Baird, Tenneco: As a leading supplier ofsuspension, systems protection, braking, and noise, vibration and harshness systems and products, a significant portion of our new product-de- velopment efforts focus on helping customers address the unique performance requirements of electric powertrains. For example, our Monroe® Intelligent Suspension, include several design and construction features that extend load capacity and damping-force tuning range for vehicles equipped with lithium-ion battery packs. The added weight of EV batteries can increase damping requirements in a variety of driving situations. CVSAe technology automatically applies added damping force in these situations to reduce body pitch, or brake dive, while maintaining outstanding ride comfort.