Valeo advances driver comfort and confidence with
detection systems contracts
Valeo's new parking slot measurement system, which
advises the driver if the car will fit into a given parking space, has
been selected by two European car makers and is due to be installed on
several future models, the first in 2004. The parking slot measurement
system significantly enhances comfort and confidence for parallel parking,
an increasingly challenging maneuver in a world of heavy urban traffic
with fewer available parking spaces.
Valeo has developed the sensor-based parking slot measurement system
applying its proven Ultrasonic Park-Assist (UPA) technology for which it
is the world's number one. The innovative parking slot measurement system
can evaluate the length of a parking slot chosen by the driver and perform
an accurate comparison with the length of the driver's car to indicate if
the car will fit into the space.
"These contracts represent an important recognition by car makers
that driver support and detection systems play an increasingly important
role for drivers in the future. This development and successful customer
approval is a direct result of our Domain approach which transcends
traditional product, system and technology definitions. Valeo innovations
such as this will continue to add value to cars," said Thierry Morin,
Chairman of Valeo's Management Board.
Particularly beneficial in urban areas where parking slots are scarce
and space at a premium, or at night when the driver's spatial judgement
may be impaired, the parking slot measurement system will be an
indispensable tool in the day-to-day driving of the future. Studies
conducted by Valeo have shown that drivers who are less accustomed to
parking in more confined spaces benefit from additional peace-of-mind and
feel more comfortable performing parallel parking maneuvers.
The parking slot measurement system consists of two ultrasonic sensors
similar to those used in Valeo's current UPA system. These sensors are
integrated into the left and right hand side of the front bumper of the
car and communicate the requested parking slot measurement information to
the driver via existing visual displays located on the dash board.
With the system switched on, the driver simply drives up to an empty
parking space between two cars or clearly defined objects by the kerb. As
the driver passes the parking slot at a distance of less than 0.5 meters,
the system measures the size of the space. If the car will fit into the
space, the driver simply continues as in a normal parking maneuver
employing the UPA system to judge the available parking distance in
relation to a parked car or a static obstacle.
The parking slot measurement sensors are small enough to be
unobtrusively integrated into the bumper design. The individual contracts
will be customized to suit the needs of each car maker to integrate the
system optimally and link it to other systems if required.
In the future, it is envisaged that information from Valeo's advanced
steering angle sensor, which is in volume production with the major German
and French automotive customers, can be combined with the parking slot and
UPA system to instruct the driver of optimal steering torque and timing
during parking maneuvers. This is expected to improve parallel parking
even further, minimizing additional parking adjustments thereby reducing
unnecessary driver tasks and saving time.
Valeo considers the parking slot measurement system to be
cost-effective and "Valeo added" for car makers who choose to
install Valeo's award-winning UPA system. This system, in production since
1991, facilitates the adoption of the parking slot measurement function by
using the same Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and the same type of
ultrasonic sensors to interpret and communicate parking slot measurement
The parking slot measurement system has been developed in France and
Germany. Extensive testing was carried out in urban Paris, an area
notorious for its congestion and scarcity of parking spaces. The
ultrasonic sensors have been in volume production at two Valeo sites
located in Germany and in Mexico, in production since 1991 and 1997
respectively. The parking slot measurement systems for the two car makers
are planned to be produced in Germany initially.
The parking slot measurement system is a major advancement in the
ultrasonic sensor market estimated to be worth nearly 500 million euro in