Blind spot detection is a technology that helps drivers avoid collisions with vehicles that are not visible in their rearview mirrors or side mirrors. It is a useful feature that can reduce the stress and risk of changing lanes or merging on busy roads. But who invented this innovative system and how did it evolve over time?
The concept of blind spot detection can be traced back to a 1995 paper by George Platzer, an engineer who worked for Ford Motor Company. Platzer proposed a method of adjusting the side mirrors on a car to eliminate the blind spots on the sides. He also patented a blind spot monitor that used cameras and radar sensors to detect vehicles in the blind spot area and alert the driver with a visual or audible signal. Platzerâ€™s paper was presented to the Society of Automotive Engineers, but his method was often overlooked in driverâ€™s education classes and by car manufacturers1
The first commercial implementation of blind spot detection was by Volvo, a Swedish automaker that was owned by Ford at the time. Volvo introduced the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) on the 2003 Volvo XC90 SUV, which used optical sensors mounted on the door mirror housings to check the blind spot area for an impending collision. Volvo won an AutoCar Safety and Technology award for the introduction of this feature12
Since then, blind spot detection has become more widespread and advanced, with many automakers offering their own versions of the system. Some examples are:
- Mazda, the first Japanese automaker to offer blind spot detection, which they call Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM). Mazda introduced BSM on the 2008 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring and has since expanded the availability of the system to other models2
- Ford, which adapted Volvoâ€™s BLIS system to its Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands. Ford also introduced a Blind Spot Assist function, which can steer or brake the car to avoid a potential collision when the turn signal is activated and there is an obstacle in the blind spot13
- Infiniti, which introduced a Blind Spot Intervention system that applies the brakes to guide the car away from switching lanes if someone is in the blind spot. This system was first fitted on the 2010 Infiniti M sedan3
Blind spot detection is one of the many safety features that have improved the driving experience and reduced the risk of accidents. It is a testament to the ingenuity and innovation of the engineers who invented and developed this technology.