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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Germans are developing 'cognitive' cars

KARLSRUHE, Germany, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- German engineers say they are developing a software program that will, for the first time, help several cars coordinate their movements to avoid an accident.

Scientists said the software allows vehicles to form a network via car-to-car communication.

"In dangerous situations, the cars can independently perform coordinated maneuvers without their drivers having to intervene," said Thomas Batz, who developed the software with colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing and Karlsruhe University.

The so-called cognitive automobiles are equipped with integrated sensors such as cameras, GPS and radar systems and continuously transmit current position and driving information to a car designated as group coordinator.

Sudden dangers, such as a child running onto the road, are recognized not only by the car directly affected, but also by the group coordinator. If the car in question can neither brake nor swerve because there's another car on the lane to the right, the group coordinator orders both vehicles to swerve to the right in a coordinated maneuver to avoid an accident with the child or a collision with one another.

Although the system is still under development, the scientists said its group formation function has already been implemented.

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