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Porsche Cars Can See 1.8 Miles Down the Road With New Technology

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【Summary】Porsche drivers will soon have cars that can electronically see 1.8-miles down the road with the automaker's formerly European-only InnoDrive system that will make its appearance on 2019 U.S. models.

Original Eric Walz    Aug 31, 2017 5:52 PM PT
Porsche Cars Can See 1.8 Miles Down the Road With New Technology

Porsche drivers will soon have cars that can electronically see 1.8-miles down the road, thanks to the German automaker's formerly European-only InnoDrive system that will make its appearance on 2019 U.S. models.

The driver-assist feature, which the company announced during an event at its Zuffenhausen, Germany, headquarters this week, is yet another move in the ongoing war between automakers to provide motorists with a growing suite of technological features that making driving safer, while stopping well short of offering as-yet unproven self-driving vehicles.

Leveraging topographic 3D maps from a company called Here Technologies as well as inputs from radar and camera sensors, the computers in Porsche automobiles and SUVs factor in upcoming road changes — say a steep descent or a sharp bend — as well as slick surface conditions based on tire slippage and adjust their engine mapping and suspension settings accordingly to provide an added measure of driver security.

Roughly two times a second, the control unit provides an updated, completely recalculated version of the driving profile and the ideal trajectory for the next two miles. InnoDrive selects from countless transmission states (eight gears and coasting) and determines countless acceleration options.

"This continuously gives us millions of options for the driving strategy," says Markschläger. But the computing power required for this is immense. So, along with his team, he adapted the dynamic programming computing method—an optimality principle developed by mathematician Richard Bellman—until it could support real-time capability in the car. "Essentially, the idea is to recognize at an early stage which paths cannot possibly lead to the optimal solution," and then to discard them without running through the whole calculation.

Sport Mode Option

With the flip of a switch on the steering wheel, Innodrive operates in ‘sport mode'. In this mode, a Porsche can power through the switchbacks on the way out of town, race up hills, and bounds through a series of sharp turns with ease.

You can even hear and feel the rotational speed. "In Sport mode, the priorities are rearranged," according to Porsche. "Speed is the first concern, while comfort and efficiency take a bit of a backseat." InnoDrive now puts out some twenty percent more acceleration and twenty percent more lateral acceleration in corners.

InnoDrive also works when a driver turns on the vehicle's adaptive cruise control system, which allows the car to maintain a continuous distance to the car in front of it on the highway in stop-and-go traffic.

Furthermore, the system also has a Traffic Jam Assist feature, in which the car can steer itself in a lane at speeds up to around 40 miles per hour. A range of high-end Porsche rivals offer similar high-tech features, including models from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

The delay in the U.S. rollout of InnoDrive is related largely to making sure Here's sophisticated maps are available in the targeted region. BMW, Daimler and Audi bought Here from Nokia for $3.1 billion in 2015. Porsche is part of Volkswagen which alos includes Audi.

This week, Porsche rolled out information on its upcoming Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan models, which include a lighter chassis, rear-axle steering as well as new Porsche Surface Coated Brake, whose tungsten carbide-over-cast iron surface reduces fade and brake dust.


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