The Commission has removed a potential barrier to fitting collision avoidance radar into cars, and the car industry now has to take up the challenge to develop new systems. Widespread fitting of short range radar systems in cars could significantly enhance road safety for all road users and pedestrians.
Automotive short-range radar (SRR) systems can constantly monitor the area around a vehicle to detect obstacles, such as other vehicles, pedestrians or static obstacles. If widely deployed, such radar systems could help to reach the EU’s policy goal of halving the number of deaths on the road. SRR systems are similar to current parking assistants but with a longer range. They aim to warn drivers of potential collisions and alert them to pedestrians or obstacles in blind spots. Depending on the specific application, SRR also have the potential to automatically trigger active safety measures, such as pre-tensioning of seat belts or automated braking to avoid or mitigate collisions.
Authorisation to use the 24 GHz radio frequency band for short-range anti-collision radar in cars has been extended until 2018 by a European Commission decision. This temporary extension will ensure short range car radar systems remain available on the market until manufacturers develop technology using the 79 GHz band, which was the operating frequency designated for such systems back in 2004. Only 0.05 % of cars in Europe are equipped with such radar systems, which currently all use the 24 GHz band, and are mainly in luxury cars. Manufacturers have encountered difficulties in developing systems using the 79 GHz band, so that technology in the 79 GHz band has not developed as fast as initially predicted by the industry. As a result, 79 GHz-technology is not mature enough for commercial deployment in cars by 2013, when the use of the 24 GHz band by these systems had been due to end.