Around 1910, car doors were simple flaps with an ordinary latch. The flaps had one simple function: no one should fall out of or get into the car whilst it was moving. Today, more than 100 years later, we live in a very different world and the demands on car doors in terms of safety and convenience have increased accordingly. So what standards should car doors meet today?
In a study by the German Insurers Accident Research ("Unfallforschung der Versicherer", UVD), descriptions of accidents provided specifically by pedestrians and cyclists in the state of Saxony-Anhalt were evaluated from 2012 to 2016. According to this study, for cyclists, dooring accidents, i.e. car doors opening unpredictably, are the highest cause of accidents at 52%... and this is a problem that Rheinmetall has a solution for ( Source ).
Increased safety and convenience: Rheinmetall's Compact Door Actuator side door opener
In order to improve safety standards in road traffic, Rheinmetall has developed its Compact Door Actuator as a solution for the automated operation of car doors. If the actuator is integrated into the car's safety system and environment monitoring, it can unfold its full potential and thus enable more safety and convenience in everyday life and in road traffic. So if you want to open the door of a parked car, the system blocks this if there are obstacles in the immediate vicinity, such as an approaching bicycle or car. When opening particularly heavy car doors, the actuator provides assistance and thus increases the convenience for the passenger. If you have your hands full with shopping bags, the Compact Door Actuator provides assistance and opens the car door by itself.
The future starts today
For Rheinmetall, the technological advancement of car doors is eminent in getting closer to the future of autonomous vehicles. Andreas Köster, the project manager in charge of pre-development at Rheinmetall, describes the major challenges involved in developing the pioneering Door Actuators technology: "The special mounting method in the door gap between the A-pillar and the door requires a very compact yet powerful actuator. That's why we opted for a powerful motor that also meets the high requirements of being acoustically very quiet and managing to move a door weighing on average 30 to 40 kilograms. In terms of technology, the entire development of the Door Actuator has been an ambitious project. We are really proud of the final product."
"The fact that the Rheinmetall Door Actuator is mounted in the hinge axis outside the car door opens up new possibilities for passengers in terms of convenience," Köster continues. The car door therefore has an almost unlimited opening angle. This is certainly a trendsetting convenience requirement for car doors of autonomous vehicles.