Cars that Feel Abuse? Hella Says It’s Possible Soon

Car dent 1 photo
Cars are getting way too expensive these days, with all those electronic operated gizmos and luxury features. So why not getting yet another feature that tells you if someone is messing around with your precious vehicle while you’re away? Yep, it’s possible and German supplier Hella has the solution.
Jokes aside, knowing exactly when your car gets dinged in the parking lot can spare you and fleet operators of further investigations and resulting headaches. Imagine the car sensing a scratch and instantly notifying its owner so he/she can immediately run to the parking lot and see what’s happening before it’s too late.

That is actually possible using current technology. According to a WardsAuto report, Hella unveiled a new piezo-based electronic sensor which goes by the name of Intelligent Damage Detection System which can take notice of vehicle body panels sustaining damage.

“We basically implement a sense of touch for the whole vehicle for the outer shell,” says Kristian Döscher, Hella’s head of marketing-original equipment. “Everything that is digitized so far in terms of diagnosis is only related to electronic infrastructure, but not the outer shell of the car.”

How it works

The system uses a thin foil type sensor that can be glued to the back side of body panels and then get connected to the existing parking sensors. The more the better and the foil works with all kind of panels and materials.

Using an advanced algorithm, the damage detection system can tell if a body panel is getting scratched, dented or even punctured. If the car is equipped with GPS, the system will create an event log entry with the location, time and the type of damage the respective panel sustained.

This could come very handy to fleet operators or car rental firms. The former will know in real time how skillful their drivers are while the latter can create a simplified renting procedure, eliminating the need to inspect cars each time a client brings it back.

Also, if the vehicle comes with cameras, they can instantly be turned ON and capture the event so the owner has hard evidence for insurance companies and whatnot. Still think this is too much of a SF story? BMW and several other companies are already interested and Hella says they could bring it into production as soon as 2018.
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