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I’m Saul Reisman here at Saul’s AUTOTEK and today we’re going to talk a little bit more about ADAS systems and really about winter driving and how to stay safe and how to work with these new technology systems.

Now the Lincoln MKZ behind me is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with an automatic transmission. From a winter driving standpoint, the fact that its front-wheel-drive will allow it to get a little bit better traction than a rear-wheel-drive vehicle as the weight of the engine and transmission is on the front of the vehicle directly on the drive train components to give it a fair amount of traction. However, only two wheels are getting power at any given time, specifically, the front end and those front wheels have to be giving the vehicle the ability to accelerate the ability to break and the ability to steer.

So we’re asking three different vector dynamics out of the one point of contact of that tire contact patch of what’s keeping it in contact with the ground. That’s a lot to ask for of a vehicle in low traction weather. As a result, this vehicle is equipped with a vehicle stability control system, also known as VSC, which is designed to help it do the best it can given its operating equipment. Now VSC systems are in place in most modern vehicles and will soon be mandated federally if they have not been to a smaller extent already by the time you see this video. The reality is vehicle stability control is just a really good math problem using technology that we already have. This vehicle is equipped with a wheel speed sensor at all four corners, transmission speed sensors on the input and output along with a yaw rate sensor and a steering angle sensor and it uses the combination of these eight sensors in order for it to make intelligent educated decisions using an artificial intelligence program to determine what those inputs mean and what the vehicle is actually undergoing in terms of a driving condition.

Now, unfortunately, for the case of this vehicle, the system worked but not quite as well as we’d like it to and the owner, unfortunately, had a collision. They slid up against something in the snow because they couldn’t quite stop and make that corner in time. Now there are two lessons to be learned with this car. One is always slow down, especially in inclement weather because the systems can only work as fast as we can process them and anything, we do to give them more speed, whether it’s our own reaction times or those computer reaction times, is going to affect our ability to start, steer and stop. Two is we really need to work with these systems. Now, one thing you may have been told before when you were growing up about driving in snow or inclement weather is you might slide, you might slide into something. This will potentially happen and what to do if it happens.

You’ll often be told to steer into the skid. What that means is let’s say you’re making a left-hand turn at an intersection and you’ve waited your turn, the intersection is clear and you attempt to make that left turn, but the vehicle understeers and does not turn as tight as you would like it to and now you’re heading directly for that pole. On the 45-degree angle away from you, your initial reaction is to keep turning that wheel as fast as you can so that you’re pointing away from that object. The reality is, when you’re doing that, you’re turning the tire sideways against the vector the traction is being applied to and a rolling tire that’s rolling against the surface of the earth can grab traction much easier than a lateral friction motion pushing against the side of the earth. The coefficient of static friction is so great compared to that rolling friction that it’s much more difficult to control the vehicle while it’s being pushed to the side.

That’s why you’ll be told, steer straight into that. The reality is your vehicle stability control system also uses that input to try and help you. It uses that steering angle sensor to know where you’re pointing the steering wheel and helps to control other aspects of the vehicle to match what you’re doing. However, if we fight the vehicle’s motion and we’re fighting that resistance, we’re telling the computer to fight that motion with us, which increases the chance that we’ll lose control of the car. The great thing about computers is they do exactly what we tell them to do. The worst thing about computers is that they do exactly what we tell them to do, which means if we make a hard corner and we’re sliding and we keep trying to steer away, the computer’s going to help us try and steer away, which might make us skid even more.

Or if we try and steer into the skid, the way you were taught in driver’s ed and the way that the vehicle is trying to go, the computer’s going to pick that up and get that vehicle back in line and on its track to motion in a heartbeat. So we want you to remember that ADAS systems are here to help you. Now we know that some people are going to be apprehensive about these. We’re going to see big brother perspectives in motor vehicles. We’re going to see insurance companies looking at that information in collisions. We’re going to see automotive manufacturers using that information to mitigate lawsuits about their automotive products working the way they’re supposed to, and these are all videos that we’re going to be making in the future so that we can keep you informed about what’s going on and how you can be comfortable with automotive technology.

The reality is, Hollywood has told us that anything involving AI, robotics, and a motor vehicle should make you scared of it. That’s simply not true. These systems are here to help keep you safe and that 99% of motor vehicle accident fatalities being caused by human error are entirely avoidable. Let’s save million-plus years alive. Let’s save million-plus lives a year by being able to keep these people in control of their vehicles and keep them safe on the road.

Here at Saul’s AUTOTEK, we want to keep you safe and keep you on the road as long as possible. Come and see us.


 

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