PRECO Electronics is excited to announce the immediate availability of our expanded vision system offerings. The new suite of monitors and cameras, including PreView® Monitor 5 HD, PreView® Monitor 5 LD, PreView® Mini Cam, and PreView® Mirror Monitor, provides customers with a wide range of flexibility and the ability to integrate PreView® radar sensors to help mitigate accidents, improve fleet operations, and further assist with blind spot monitoring.
There is a safety arms race in progress. Advances in collision mitigation technology are being undermined by advances in personal technology that distract heavy-duty operators and people on the ground from noticing potentially dangerous situations.
Who knows what will happen in 2017, but we are hopeful that by the end of the year we will be closer to the time when man and machine are able to ensure every worker makes it home safely. When they do, we might be able to put a stop to—or at least slow down—the safety arms race.
Busy worksites include a dangerous mix of oversized trucks, service trucks, and people on the ground in constant motion trying to meet deadlines. With all of this activity, operators often focus on an immediate danger or maneuvering without realizing a new hazard has entered their blind zone.
The US Department of Labor has reported that 4,386 work fatalities were investigated in 2014, 20.5% of which were in construction-up 6 percent from 2013. Being struck-by an object was one of the leading causes of these construction worker deaths. According the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 75% of struck-by fatalities involved heavy equipment.
Despite improvements in safety training, the number of accidents and fatalities as a result of collisions between motorcyclists, pedestrians or cyclists and commercial trucks & buses has remained high over the past 30 years – even increasing in our biggest cities. In the USA alone there were 587 such deaths in 1989, 519 in 1999, and 531 in 2014, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Efforts by commercial fleets to improve vehicle safety are counteracted by more traffic and an increase in driver distraction – e.g. the use of handheld devices. It seems like people would rather scroll through their social media feed than pay attention to where they’re walking or driving.
Forward collision mitigation technologies—those that detect how far and fast a vehicle in front of you is moving, and automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision if you don’t—are rapidly advancing in the trucking industry. Good news, since forward collision avoidance systems can result in a 20% to 25% reduction in rear end fatalities and injuries. The even better news is that this number is expected to grow to 40% to 50% in the next generation of forward collision mitigation systems, and to 50% to 60% in future iterations.
Blind spots behind all moving vehicles and equipment can cause serious physical harm and financial damage. The problem will soon be addressed for passenger vehicles. In May 2018, a decade after the enabling legislation was passed, a law will go into effect requiring that all automotive vehicles be equipped with backup cameras and monitors. The Department of Transportation (DOT) law will apply to new vehicles under 10,000 pounds. It is not hard to imagine that these same requirements will soon be extended to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
Drivers and pedestrians are understandably nervous about the presence of semi-autonomous passenger cars and, soon, fully autonomous passenger cars on our roads. What would these same people think if they got a glimpse of the vehicles moving through underground mines from Wyoming to Western Australia? How would they feel about 100-ton driverless bulldozers moving in unison through cramped tunnels, filling their buckets with ore and highly trained operators in offices thousands of miles away? The use of autonomous and semi-autonomous equipment is more of what we might expect at a futuristic mining colony on Mars than at a present-day mine here on Planet Earth.
For a variety of reasons, the use of remotely controlled or programmed vehicles is slowly making its impact in the underground mining industry. Underground mining is dangerous. It is competitive. And it is taking place further and further beneath the earth’s crust. For all of these reasons, mine operators and the vendors who equip them are working furiously to get human operators out of the mines and into safer locations.
Picture this: You are flying 36,000 feet in the air, on your way to a family getaway at Disney World, and suddenly the plane experiences a critical system failure. Thanks to the multiple duplicate components and systems on the plane, a new system seamlessly takes over operation of the aircraft, and you and your family safely reach your destination, none the wiser.
The duplication of systems in this scenario is called redundancy, and it’s one of the most common fail-safe methods around. Merriam-Webster defines fail-safe as “incorporating some feature for automatically counteracting the effect of an anticipated possible source of failure.” Fail-safe is further described as “a device or practice that, in the event of a specific type of failure, responds or results in a way that will cause no harm, or at least minimize harm, to other devices or to personnel.”
Every day heavy duty equipment goes through more extremes than the average automobile does in a lifetime. That’s why anything that goes onto a piece of heavy-duty equipment needs to be more rugged than the equipment fitted on automobiles. Engine bearings must be able to withstand fatigue resistance and have significant high torque load-carrying capacity. Tires are engineered for heavy loads, to maintain solid traction, and be resistant to punctures. Even heavy-duty equipment operators need to be hardy to keep up with the physical and mental demands of these strenuous and demanding jobs. It’s these factors that keep heavy-duty equipment moving and worksites productive.
Camera/monitor systems are an extremely useful technology, but it is important to recognize their limitations as a stand-alone solution for object detection.
Back-up cameras serve to reduce blind zones in reversing cars by 90 percent, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Considering that 94% of new cars on the market today have back-up cameras, that’s a lot of backwards visibility gained.