Audi is focusing on Active Safety for its LMP race cars in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans which is only two weeks away. There is the Passive Safety which is already utilized and its purpose is to protect the driver from superfluous injuries in case of a crash. But Audi extends its focus on Active Safety which serves to counter dangerous driving situations through preliminary methods.
Audi is not new to Active Safety; they are using it on their road cars already. The numerous assistance systems including some very innovative ones they revealed at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show all count for it. Just to name a few, there is the autonomous parking system, the ‘Audi side assist’ that helps during lane changes; ‘Audi pre sense’ that helps to avoid accidents and the night vision assistant that helps to marks pedestrians.
In the Audi lab, Audi has developed new systems that have been incorporated in the LMP race cars ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The engineers have fitted the following systems as part of the Active Safety;
1. LED headlights with matrix-beam principle define new standard
This feature has helped increase the range to which the beam reaches, and this is 800 meters. Each headlight comes with 8 LED units that altogether improve visibility especially of the track, allowing the drive to stick to his lane without haste.
2. Digital rear-view mirror eliminates blind spot
As you may have noticed, LMP race cars cannot use the conventional rear view mirror due to the design of their roof and interior compartment. As a result, the driver’s rear is always considered a blind spot. As much as racing revolves around drivers overcoming challenges in the cars and on the track, the rear view is as important as the front view.
The engineers have fitted a digital rear view mirror which is in form of a camera, similar to the rear cameras used by modern cars as parking assistance. This one comes with an AMOLED display to help save energy. Energy saved ensures fuel efficiency and hence saving more time in the race, an important factor. The digital rear mirror is free from vibrations as opposed to the conventional rear view mirror.
3. Additional Buttons on the Steering Wheel
The steering wheel has 13 buttons that can help in checking brake force distribution, traction control, the radio, drink supply, the starter and electronic functions. There is also a display located in the center that shows absolute lap times, times in track sectors, the difference to previously clocked lap times or tire inflation pressure.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said;
Our race drivers have come to value the constant technological improvements so much that they wouldn’t want to do without modern assistance systems anymore. They make an indispensable contribution to active safety. And as Le Mans has long turned into a sprint, the systems are of help in the battle for every second as well.