Martorell, 13/12/2018. – The recently launched SEAT Tarraco SUV could be a life-saver for cyclists, packing technology which can detect and alert the driver to a potential collision.
As well as audible and visual warnings, the new seven-seat vehicle can even apply the brakes automatically to prevent an incident, alerting the driver and intervening if no avoiding action is taken.
Arriving in the UK in early 2019, the Tarraco SUV’s Front Assist safety package aims to help in cutting down on the 8% of all road incidents involving a cyclist in Europe.
Esteban Alcántara, a SEAT engineer, and two of his cycling enthusiast friends recently took to the road to explain how this new driving assistant operates to protect riders:
At the wheel of the SEAT Tarraco, Alcántara – who is responsible for Active Safety at SEAT – encounters a couple of cyclists travelling in the same direction. When he gets closer to them, “the front mounted ‘el radar’ detects their presence, and according to the trajectory and speed of both the car and the cyclists, triggers a number of actions to prevent a possible collision”.
When the Front Assist safety package on the SEAT Tarraco detects an imminent collision in 1.5 or 2 seconds, it activates an audible and visual warning. If the driver does not react, the car automatically begins an emergency braking manoeuvre between 0.8 and 1 second before the possible accident would take place. According to Alcántara, in a real driving situation this means that “when driving down a road at 45mph, the car would begin to respond approximately 20 metres before a possible collision”.
The Front Assist safety package has gone through 1,200 development tests, recreating 450 different scenarios on a track. “Simulations are performed in several real driving conditions. Structures are used that reproduce the properties of different road users, such as pedestrians or cyclists, to test how the vehicle responds in each situation”, explains Alcántara.
Alcántara acknowledges that driving assistants are of great help at the wheel: “Active Safety systems play an increasingly important role in protecting road users, and in some cases can prevent accidents or minimise their consequences.” However, he also points out that the person driving the car is always ultimately responsible: “this kind of assistant is no substitute for the driver’s obligation to remain alert, respect traffic regulations, reduce speed and maintain the safety distance when passing a cyclist”, he states.
“At the SEAT R&D Centre we are sensitive about protecting drivers as well as all other road users”, says Esteban. Furthermore, Tony Gallardo, part of the SEAT design team and amateur cyclist also emphasises that “more and more people are taking a liking to this sport, so we must stay committed to promoting the correct conduct on the road and to keeping everyone safe”.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting 80% of its vehicles, and is present in over 80 countries on all five continents. In 2017, SEAT obtained an after tax profit of 281 million euros, sold close to 470,000 cars and achieved a record turnover of more than 9.5 billion euros.
The SEAT Group employs more than 15,000 professionals and has three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza, Arona and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca and the Toledo in the Czech Republic, the Tarraco in Germany, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.
The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focussed on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D. SEAT already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company’s global digitalisation process to promote the mobility of the future.
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