Valeo values safety, convenience in aftermarket offerings

  • 31-Mar-2008 06:12 EDT

Guideo is unique on the aftermarket, claims Valeo, because it integrates four functions in one camera module, including lane-departure warning and a "black box" function in case of an accident.

More and more vehicles are entering the dealer showroom loaded with advanced safety and convenience features such as lane-departure warning and parking assistance. But these technologies need not come installed from the factory for drivers to enjoy their benefits.

At the Paris-located Equip Auto Show in October, Valeo showed two aftermarket products—the Guideo advanced multivision module and the Beep&park/Keeper front and rear parking-assistance system with anti-bump alert—that offer such functions and more. Both technologies were Grand Prix award finalists (as judged by an international jury that included AEI) at Equip Auto in the “Aftermarket and Spare Parts” category, with Guideo winning the Silver Award.

Guideo is unique on the aftermarket, claims Valeo, because it integrates four functions in one module: Lane Alert lane-departure warning, an Optilane lane-keeping system, a visual recording of the vehicle’s direction in the event of abrupt acceleration or deceleration, and a Beep&watch warning for the driver when movement is detected in front of the vehicle, e.g., when a vehicle begins moving at a traffic light.

The system consists of a central camera module, mounted to the rearview mirror, that activates at vehicle startup and works in lighting conditions to <1 lux. A pre-recorded voice, available in several languages, guides the user through initial setup and alerts the driver to various situations. On the back of the module, activation of one or all of the functions is displayed on an LCD screen. The CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) camera, which has a mass of 145 g (5.1 oz) and is 120 x 75 x 37 mm (4.7 x 3.0 x 1.5 in), is detachable.

The Lane Alert function uses an algorithm to detect when the vehicle crosses a white line without a turn signal, and alerts the driver with a sound or voice. The “anticipation threshold” is adjustable by programming the alert distance. With the Optilane function, an algorithm spots vehicle drift in relation to the road markings, and informs the driver after the vehicle drifts for more than 5 s. As with Lane Alert, Optilane is deactivated when the turn signal is in use.

The Video Box function records up to 30 20-s video sequences immediately before and after an impact. The videos can be downloaded to a PC via USB connection for viewing. The Beep&watch function, which uses a change in images to identify movement up front, activates when the vehicle has been at a standstill for 3 s.

All four Guideo functions can be adjusted or deactivated using a remote control—e.g., activation of Lane Alert only above 130 km/h (80 mph). The estimated installation time for the system is 1 h.

Based on Valeo’s original-equipment technology and know-how, Guideo was in development for about one and a half years before hitting the European aftermarket in November, said Elizabeth Chrétien, Marketing Manager for Post Equipment. She sees the U.S. market as a future opportunity, due mainly to “big demand for lane-departure warning.”

The technology is adjustable for use in all types of light-duty vehicles. “We will have another version for heavy-duty trucks very soon,” said Chrétien. “This system is actually compatible, but we need to have some longer wires.”

The Beep&park parking-assistance system, which launched in 2005 with a range of six universal kits, gets added functionality with the new “Keeper” kit. Chrétien called it a “more upscale” application. When the vehicle is parked with the engine off, Beep&park/Keeper’s eight ultrasonic sensors (four front, four rear) continue to detect movement of approaching vehicles at the front and rear.

The anti-bump alert function warns the driver of an approaching vehicle when he or she is between 1 m and 20 cm (3.3 ft and 7.9 in) from the bumper. A visual warning is provided through automatic activation of the hazard lights, and an audible warning via the horn. The warnings are designed to give the impression that the owner of the parked vehicle is nearby and has opened the vehicle remotely.

The alert system switches off once the other vehicle is parked. The audible warning can be deactivated via a switch, and the system’s low power consumption (<300 mA) does not contribute to premature battery wear, claims Valeo. Pedestrians and animals do not set off the warnings.

Recently launched in Europe, Beep&park/Keeper can be fitted to all vehicle makes and models, with an estimated installation time of 3 h, 30 min.

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