Volvo Trucks has developed technology that eliminates a truck drivers’ blind spot, in a bid to reduce accidents involving pedestrians.
Pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas are at particular risk. Last year 19,000 cyclists were reported killed or injured in Britain.
Further, in London an estimated 20 percent of cyclist fatalities involve a truck or heavy goods vehicle (HGV), according to figures from the royal society of the prevention of accidents.
Volvo Trucks’ research found that limited visibility is one of the main causes of heavy truck accidents with road users in Europe, and has is working on technologies to bring to the market to eliminate dangers on the road.
Volvo’s technology will give truck drivers a 365 degree view with cameras installed on the vehicle. These cameras share information with sensors and radars which can autonomously activate the braking or steering system if the driver does not respond to an alert that a pedestrian or cyclist is close by.
Carl Johan Almqvist, Volvo Trucks’ Traffic and Product Safety Director said: “Today’s Volvo trucks are designed to eliminate any vehicle blind spots. But in situations with heavy traffic it is easy for a driver to miss something important such as an approaching cyclist on the vehicle’s passenger side. Now we can solve this issue and help the driver see and understand everything that is happening around the vehicle.”
The technology, which is a result of a four-year research project called Non-Hit Car and Truck, in cooperation with Volvo Cars and Chalmers University of Technology, could be introduced as early as five years’ time from now, Almqvist said.
“We have the main components in place but we need to do a lot more testing in order to make sure that the system is fault-free. If we manage to solve these challenges, a future without truck accidents is within reach.”
Volvo currently offers a set of safety technologies for trucks. These include an emergency braking system with an early collision warning to prevent accidents caused by inattention and lane changing support which detects vehicles in the blind spot on the passenger side. The car manufacturer also offers lane keeping support - a monitor of a truck’s position on the road, detecting and alerting the driver to drifting, as well as driver alert support which warns tired drivers and advises them to take a break.
Competitor Honda recently revealed its plans for a “collision free society” during a demonstration of its cutting edge machine-to-machine products.
The car-manufacturer presented two connected Acura Sedan cars to “talk” to each other enables a “virtual tow” which allows one car to drive with no-one behind the wheel, directed by the other, in Detroit last month.
Honda said that "virtual tow" is designed to allow drivers on the roads to assist each other when breakdowns occur.