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Blind spot assistant - assistance systems are designed to prevent accidents

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Inside mirror, outside mirror, shoulder look - like It is important to look around carefully in order to maneuver a vehicle safely through complex traffic situations, every learner driver is trained to be right from the first day at the wheel. Nevertheless, more than 9,500 serious accidents occur every year on Germany's roads alone, which can be traced back to a lack of caution when changing lanes. To my expert, it is all too often to blame for the 'blind spot', that secluded spot at an angle behind your own vehicle from which a potential source of an accident can appear out of nowhere.

Volvo is the pioneer when it comes to Blind Spot Assist

Particularly when driving fast on the motorway there are dangerous situations because one person simply overlooks the other. Honed exterior mirrors expand the driver's field of vision, but have not solved the problem in a satisfactory way. That is why manufacturers have been trying for a long time to tackle the 'blind spot' with camera or radar-based assistance systems. Volvo was able to distinguish itself as a pioneer.

The Swedes have their 'Blind Spot Information System' - BLIS for short - on the Geneva Motor Show presented on a widely acclaimed safety concept car. BLIS uses two digital cameras that Volvo's engineers have positioned in the two exterior mirror housings. With a frequency of 25 frames per second, the cameras on both sides of the car cover an area three meters wide and 9.5 meters long.

In fog and snowstorms, the blind spot assistant switches off

If another vehicle enters the area or is already moving in a critical environment, the driver is warned by an indicator light in the exterior mirror. The assistance system works in the infrared frequency range and is therefore equally functional day and night. However, there is one with thick fog and snow flurriesProblem. Moving objects can no longer be recognized. The system switches off. The driver is at least informed about the deactivation of the assistance. The far bigger disadvantage is that BLIS reacts to cars, trucks and motorcycles, but not to mopeds, bicycles or pedestrians. Volvo customers S60 and V70 were able to choose BLIS back in 2005. The safety feature - including electronically folding exterior mirrors - is now also available for the S40, S60, V50 and C30. Cost: 920 euros.

Audi offers Blind Spot Assist with two 24-gigahertz radar sensors

With the larger Swedish cars S80 and V70, the assistant is only available in combination with other extras in a package that costs a good 2,000 euros. Audi is also devoting itself to the 'dead angle' problem for quite some time. Unlike the Swedes, the Ingolstadt-based company does not rely on cameras, but on two 24-gigahertz radar sensors that are housed in the rear bumper. The sensors scan the critical areas on both sides of the vehicle and report moving objects via an illuminated symbol on the exterior mirror. If the driver ignores the warning, i.e. sets the turn signal despite the warning, 'Side Assist' reacts with practically unmistakable flashing signals. However, blind spot monitoring by the radar sensors is also not infallible. This is because the monitoring stops when the curve is more curved. Audi initially offered the lane change assistant for the Q7 luxury SUV. It can now also be ordered for the Q5, A4, A5 and A6. Customers have to invest between 500 and 600 euros for this.

Blind spot assistant often only available in an expensive package

The flagship Audi A8 can of course also come with' Side Assist 'on request. But here, too, you have to opt for a broad network of technical helpers who must be worth 3,570 euros. Mercedes has its blind spot assistant, which after the The same principle also works with short-range radar sensors, first introduced in 2007 in the S-Class. The warning light signals are amplified by an acoustic alarm and a vibrating steering wheel in the event of impending driver misconduct. It is nowSafety feature also for the Mercedes E-Class ready and can be ordered in a double pack with the Lane Keeping Assistant for just under 900 euros. In the Mercedes S-Class there is only the big solution - all kinds of assistance in a package that costs two and a half thousand euros.

Mazda already has the lane change assistant in of the compact class

BMW has been offering the radar sensor lane change assistant developed by the supplier Hella for the BMW 7 Series for several years. The extra, which the Bavarians can pay for with 620 euros, is now also available for the new BMW 5 Series sedan. The steering wheel vibrates as the highest warning level. There will be no active intervention by the assistant in the foreseeable future either. 'The responsibility in this situation should remain with the driver', says BMW . A braking maneuver initiated by the car independently could be counterproductive in this driving situation. Mazda is the first manufacturer to also equip compact graders with the lane change warning out. The Japanese call the system RVM (Rear Vehicle Monitoring). It also works with radar sensors that cover an area of ​​up to 50 meters behind the vehicle and indicate dangers using optical and acoustic signals.

RVM is standard in the more exclusive equipment variants of the Mazda 3. The same applies to the CX-7 and the Mazda 6. Mazdas 6-series customers can also order the option with simpler equipment - not 'solo', but with other extras. F ord will offer its customers in Europe the 'Blind Spot Information System' later this year. S-Max and Galaxy make the start. When the new Focus is launched next year, it will also be available with a radar sensor monitoring function on request.

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