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Two firms tie up to integrate GPS in hybrid cars

Posted: 24 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:car? GPS? sensor?

In-car systems that prevent drivers from possible road risks like taking a curve too fast have been created in a concerted effort between STMicroelectronics and Navteq Corp.

The hybrid system incorporates GPS in vehicles with or without navigation map displays so that even low-end models can warn drivers of any hazards. Navteq databases that feed ST's GPS-based chips identify the car's current speed as compared to a safe speed for next curves. The technology may provide verbal warnings, vibrate the steering wheel, flash a warning light or reduce speed.

Similar warnings can be used to adaptive cruise controls that prevent collisions with automobiles, reduce speed automatically on highway exit ramps, limit speeds in urban areas and warn of obscured traffic lights over upcoming hills. Navteq's electronic-horizon database has the context for ST's chips that are capable of providing warnings.

More advanced functions are available on some versions of ST's chips for upgraded automotive assistance systems, like the use of Navteq's slope information to automatically turn headlights up or down to match the grade of the road or turn them into curves for high visibility. The slope information will also be fed to the engine controller to help select the most efficient gear for fuel economy.

The credit card-sized module created by ST works well with the existing CANs. The chip cores are also being embedded into other sensors and electronic control units to reduce the need for standalone systems on some vehicles.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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