Mitsubishi Motors says it will soon begin selling a new system that can make driving safer by using "fuzzy" logic computers that adjust automatically for various driving conditions.
The system can control a car's automatic transmission, traction, four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, suspension and air conditioning, Mitsubishi said.For instance, the transmission can automatically downshift when needed on downhill or winding roads and keep the car from shifting up at the wrong time on curves or when letting up on the accelerator.
The new electronic suspension system uses sensors in the front of the car to measure height changes in the road ahead and to measure vibration, and adjusts the suspension for a comfortable ride, the company said.
Mitsubishi said the systems would be introduced in a new compact car "in the very near future," but would not specify a date or price.
"Fuzzy" logic computer systems can process a large number of variables more easily than earlier control systems.
Fuzzy logic gets its name from being able to understand unclear conditions such as "rather slippery," while most computers can only differentiate between alternatives like "not slippery" and "slippery."
"In the past, drivers had to judge the conditions and tell the car what to do, but now cars can have many sensors which perceive changes like an upward grade in the road and adjust the car accordingly," said a Mitsubishi official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The new traction control system can suppress excessive speed in corners and fine-tune the traction on slippery surfaces by determining whether the car is traveling on a level surface or up or down a hill, the company said.
The four-wheel steering system adjusts the response angle of the rear wheels according to the vehicle's speed and road conditions.
In the air conditioner, sensors measure the amount of sunlight, temperature and humidity to quickly stabilize the environment inside the car, Mitsubishi said.