At the Liberty and Technical Affairs advanced technology development group in Auburn Hills, engineers are examining a whole range of different ways of increasing passenger safety through an improved human-machine interface. These features reduce stress and make life easier for the driver and passengers, with the vehicle anticipating needs – as intelligently as a horse – which is intelligent enough to compensate momentary inattention on the part of the driver. The driver and horse trust in each other’s skill and judgement.
As a leader in innovation in the automotive industry, DaimlerChrysler has a strong vision of “Accident-free Driving”. This aims at drastically reducing the number of road fatalities and injuries over the next 15 to 20 years.
The company was a pioneer in the development of passive safety solutions, such as the “survival cell.” Today, there is great potential in the area of active safety – for example, in the design of human-machine interaction systems. For this reason, two new concepts are being tested in two vehicles: the Chrysler 300M IT-Edition and the Grand Cherokee Concierge. These projects are part of an ongoing commitment to enhanced vehicle safety and tie in with other “Accident-free Driving” projects.
Cooperation with MIT Media Lab
Chrysler Group engineers have a successful history of cooperation with the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The cooperation with MIT Media Lab works both ways. Engineers at Chrysler follow lab developments - which are not automotive-specific - and look for ways in which these can be applied to enhance vehicle safety and comfort. The other direction also been equally valuable. Engineers at Chrysler have drawn up a specification for a system to meet a need and have worked with MIT Media Labs to develop and test a system that meets that need.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Concierge
The second human/machine interface project takes a very different approach in two respects: the aim and the source of the innovation.
The Grand Cherokee Concierge project started life as project to develop parking and exit aids – and became a project to enhance any user touchpoint to improve the safety, convenience and comfort of the vehicle. And whereas the technology of the 300M IT-Edition was developed with MIT Media Lab as a specifically North American project, in this case much of the technology has waterfalled from DaimlerChrysler research. It is interesting to see, however, that the technology has been adapted to the different needs and environment of the North American market.
The Concierge has six very different features – all with the common purpose of increasing safety, utility and ease of use:
- Front and rear parking aids with unique infusion of video
- Blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning
- Rear-view mirror with integral LCD display
- Automatic tire air pump
- CHMSL (Center High-Mounted Stop Lamp) with variable message capability
The 300M IT-Edition and Concierge are research projects aimed at developing and testing new forms of interaction between the user and the vehicle. They seek to increase safety, convenience and utility by anticipating customer needs. It is too early to say in what form these innovations will be implemented, but Chrysler engineers are confident that these highly beneficial systems will be incorporated in future Chrysler vehicles – as part of DaimlerChrysler's continued commitment to excellence in engineering and to the vision of “Accident-free Driving”.