How Forward Collision Warning Technology Works

How Forward Collision Warning Technology Works

Radar has been in use for decades, seeing use in military settings, aviation, meteorology, and—today—collision avoidance systems. Forward collision warning technology is becoming more prevalent in its use as it helps drivers prevent accidents on the road that might otherwise be much harder to avoid.

FCWs and Radar

Most forward collision warning (FCW) systems use radio waves to detect objects ahead of the vehicle. By scanning the road multiple times per second, they are able to give drivers prompt warning of impending dangers on the road. For example, if a car suddenly serves into your lane ahead of you while on the highway, the FCW is able to detect it and give you a warning signal to take action.

Ping Pong

So how does it work? Radar uses radio waves which, like any signal, take time to travel from one place to another, even if that amount of time is too short to be humanly discernible. And, like other signals, they tend to bounce off of solid objects. On the road, those objects tend to be other vehicles. It’s sort of like a game of ping pong, but where the ball is a radio signal and traffic is your opponent.

FCWs such as the RD-140 by Safe Drive Systems send out radar signals up to 20 times per second. Those signals travel to whatever happens to be in front of you—cars, bikes, pedestrians, obstinate livestock—and bounce back to the device’s receiver. The time taken for this to happen is analyzed, and the system calculates the distance between your vehicle and the objects ahead. If you are too close, the system gives you a warning in the form of flashing lights and high-pitched beeps.

Extra Reaction Time

Since changes in traffic can occur very quickly, every fraction of a second counts in preventing a collision. In an ideal world, everyone would pay perfect attention all the time and have perfect reflexes, and thus auto wrecks wouldn’t occur. However, drivers are fallible, and by the time an impending accident becomes apparent, it may be too late to react.

An FCW alerts the driver to dangers in a form that 1) makes it absolutely clear that there is a danger, and 2) does so a few seconds before a wreck becomes unavoidable. This snaps the driver’s mind to attention and allows him or her to react in time to prevent a crash.

Most accidents can be prevented with an extra second or two of warning, and that’s exactly what the Safe Drive Systems RD-140 gives you. To learn more, contact us today.