Safety in heavy-duty industries has surged ahead in 2016 thanks to new innovations and technologies that have taken collision mitigation to the most advanced level yet. As our understanding of collisions and how to avoid them deepens, this momentum will continue with the goal of saving as many lives as possible.
Recently, we’ve seen higher levels of technological sophistication in the autonomous applications of U.S. Army tactical vehicles. Over the course of the next decade, the Army predicts that assistant drivers will no longer be needed in manned war vehicles, and only a few years beyond that the main driver will also be able to stay behind on missions. Imagine the lives that will be saved on the battlefields.
Lives are already being saved on busy urban streets and highways, thanks to advances inside impact and forward collision avoidance solutions, including new active side collision mitigation technology Daimler Sideguard Assist and Active Brake Assist 4 that will soon be offered in some Mercedes-Benz Trucks. Their technology uses advanced sensors to detect pedestrians and cyclists in truck blind zones, alert the operator, and then actively brake the truck to avoid the collision, if necessary. These types of semi-autonomous systems are expected to reduce about half of all accidents between trucks and pedestrians and bicyclists.
Forward collision mitigationtechnologies are advancing at a rapid rate, particularly in the over the road trucking industry. Evasive maneuver assist (EMA) systems goes beyond active braking systems by giving tractor-trailers the ability to autonomously steer around a stopped vehicle should the truck detect it cannot brake quickly enough to avoid impact. Forward collision mitigation safety systems could very well be mandated for commercial vehicles greater than 10,000 pounds in the near future.
Object detection radar is key to begin the collision avoidance process. The more sophisticated the radar sensor, the better the results. We now know that passive technology (systems that require operator engagement) like back-up cameras are most effective for collision mitigation when they are combined with active radar-based systems that detect unseen objects and alert the driver to take action—or take action on behalf of the driver (automatic brake assist), depending on the sophistication and integration level.
New breakthrough object detection technology, like PRECO Electronics’ PreView® Sentry™ and PreView Side Defender™, are designed to propel object detection into the next generation. Sentry is engineered to be ‘future-ready,’ in order to integrate with applications such as vehicle automation, sensor fusion and system integrations, including telematics and data logging. Side Defender is the industry’s most advanced side object detection solution, designed to actively warn operators with audible and visual alerts of objects in the vehicle’s side blind zones.
Integrating intelligent object-detection radars with new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) functionalities give way to semi-autonomous driving—with fully autonomous vehicles being the goal, and something that we will see in the not-so-distant future. ADAS features like active braking, adaptive speed control, and steering assistance have been adopted by leading companies in the automotive and heavy-duty industries, and in some cases, mandated by regulatory policy.
By integrating the best of both worlds—passive and active object detection technology—advanced radar-based collision mitigation systems are making all the difference. We can expect to safely return to our loved ones at the end of the day and we can rest assured knowing that the industry isn’t resting when it comes to keeping us safer at work and on the road.
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