We work tirelessly to find ways to make operation and adoption easier for our customers and aim to bolster a seamless transition for customers and the industries we serve. We want to help you prepare for the future, and to be ready once we do make it through these uncertain times.
In preparation for tomorrow, it's important to understand adoption processes and to gain insight on the development, testing, integration, field application, and mounting of proximity detection systems – while trying to not get too into the weeds.
For each installation, the capabilities of the systems are discussed, and the best solution is identified. Time is spent with the vehicle/machine identifying the areas of the possible installation of sensors. An evaluation is prepared in which the systems are placed in predetermined areas with predetermined detection zones. Testing follows, and changes are made to meet the desired level of safety. Many installations involve evaluating the sensors with prior displays, while others aim for the integration of additional sensors into the HMI monitor to eliminate the need for multiple displays.
For the aftermarket, field applications can sometimes vary for OEMs. Meetings follow the same protocol, usually discussing integration and placement options with the manager of aftermarket mechanics repair, engineering representatives, division of aftermarket products professionals, fleet managers, and other interested parties. Once a test application is agreed upon, mechanics and technicians used to doing maintenance on the equipment are highly encouraged to attend and assist in the process as needed by the customer.
As part of the process, the product will temporarily be mounted with clamps or magnets to the vehicle while it's stationary. Our field agents then turn the system on and will walk into the detection zone(s) from different angles, labeling with cones as they go, showing the customer where objects will be detected. From which point, the field agent can change the mount location, as well as the range/width of detection if requested by the customer.
Once the preliminary tests and demonstrations are complete, customers undergo a 30-day in-field pilot. We recommend that the pilot takes place at two unique locations to ensure the customer sees results from multiple applications. The 30-day trial is divided into stages, providing numerous touchpoints for the operator to provide valuable feedback
Typical responses from the operators after the 30-day trial include consistent zone detection, detection of both stationary and moving objects, and ability to withstand and operate effectively regardless of environmental factors.
Once the trial period is complete, and the customer commits to enhancing their safety systems, we work with customers to develop a going-forward strategy to implement the customized solution within the equipment fleet.
Mounting is different for every customer. For each system's product definition, we give a range of areas in which we believe it should be mounted. For the Side Defender®II, for example, we provide a variety of areas along the side (in both width and height) with a flexible mounting window to meet the needs of VRU alerts.
Our recommendation is always to mount the product sensor, so it extends out past other parts of the vehicle since precise placement allows the radar to detect as far behind the vehicle as possible. As long as the sensor has a clear field of view, with no parts of the vehicle inhibiting the transfer of the radar signal, the product will detect objects in the configured detection pattern reliably.
As long as it is within the radars range capability, our field agents can tailor the solution to fit customers' needs. Industry-leading construction equipment manufacturers and large corporations that manufacture agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery often ask we provide sensors that detect specific ranges.
To ensure accuracy, we will walk through the five range zones of detection to demonstrate to them the exact detection ranges. Our PreView Sentry system has a fully configurable range and width detection zone. For example, some customers will want the detection doze to be 10 meters wide, while others will want a very narrow view directly behind the vehicle at 1.2 meters wide.
Installing radars around the world, specifications, and needs can vary tremendously. While some request multiple sensors are mounted on individual machines, others require a minimalistic approach: In specific countries in Europe, vehicle width restrictions and laws have been put in place due to their small vehicle requirements and slimmer streets. With these restrictions, installation requests note limitations to how far from the side of the vehicle a radar can protrude.
When unique requirements such as the width of protrusion, installing radars with original equipment while still in manufacturing would make life easier. As an OEM, you can plan where wires go and have thorough documentation available for shop crews to reference and use when installing add-ons.
Combating Integration Issues
Combating the barriers of integrating within the aftermarket, is the system's ability to work with many makes and models of diverse age ranges, from countless manufacturers, which is what makes PRECO a unique competitor.
A leading concern for the aftermarket is once a system's added on, they don't want to buy another solution to replace it when they want another add-on. This is precisely why PreView's technology is designed to be flexible, so it can integrate with present systems, support an incredible range of add-ons, and partake in sensor fusion.
Integrating with OEMs, wiring, and planning comes a little more quickly than for the aftermarket. For many within the aftermarket, the drawings that initially defined the wiring are nonexistent due to age. In some cases, mechanics specializing in older equipment must work directly with our field agents to make sure voltage is correct and to take care that the correct wires are connected so when the vehicle is operating, they don't interfere.
It is common for a hole to be drilled, and for the paneling behind the dash to be opened up. Behind the paneling, there are many feet of wiring, from which point the system is connected to the grounding and power wires. Sometimes if the crew can't get into the dash of the vehicle to connect, power can be used from 12V adapters. With this connection, power goes to the sensor, followed by the display. Another example of how our radars are proven to be easy to integrate and very flexible.
For systems intended for reverse, turning, or forward collision protection, our safety specialist finds those signal wires and connects them to our sensor. This allows the operator only to be audibly alerted when someone is in their blind spot when they use the turn signal.
In some Sentry applications, the customer only wants to hear an alert when they are reversing, so our specialists connect it to their reverse signal. This allows the radar to know when to send messages to the display: when objects are detected only in reverse.
It is important to note that the system does not tie into the CAN-bus, because any signal from the equipment's CAN-bus that is in charge of the speed, direction of wheels, etc. could be interfered with. This is why the PRECO system itself has a CAN-bus, so when integrated, your radar and display have a CAN-bus of their own, which can take action from the vehicles CAN-bus itself.
The Development behind Integration
Don't let the ease of integration fool you; there is much thought that goes into development. If you had to design a sensor to go into your vehicle, development takes more time than installation. Integrating within the aftermarket isn't all together easier because there aren't as many components you need to figure out, it's easier because the majority of time is spent in development.
The development process of engineering is a long one, and being able to add something in the aftermarket in one day is challenging to compete with. Thanks to the time our engineers have dedicated to the development, our field agents spend one day figuring this out. Installation and integration may be a steep learning curve for some to do it all at once, but getting a safety system as advanced as PreView Radar's technology mounted, configured, and tested quickly and efficiently in one day is a rarity.
Procedures for testing systems are continuously changing, and we test our systems as such that they meet the expectations of customers. The customer asks for something, and we try to configure the sensor parameters, sometimes even changing the software to fit requirements. As we develop, we are looking into industry standards, standard tests by third parties - by standards that any company can define their product development from.
When working on Side Defender®II, we tested via the standards of customers and third-party testing entities. When the German government announced their interest in requiring side turn assistance systems on all trucks, they specified detection to bicyclists. A bicyclist must be detected from .9 to 3.5 meters in the corridor, within a range of bike speeds from 5 to 12 mph, which is why we use bikes to test Side Defender®II. To take testing to the next level, we decided to check our radar against the test-case at which our detector performs the worst. From there, we have improved the system, and continue to research and meet the evolving safety requirements around the world for medium to heavy-duty vehicles.
Working with Partners of Integration and Sensor Fusion
Working with partners, our testing engineers have traveled and installed our systems locally and internationally to bring solutions to customers around the world.
As an integrative partner, we worked with MEKRA Lang in Germany for the development of Side Defender®II. Throughout the process, MEKRA placed dozens of pilot systems on trucks, testing them in the way their customers would want it evaluated - driving them around the roads and their facilities with numerous objects placed around the area. Integrated with MEKRA's high-tech mirror solution via sensor fusion, the AAS system was named the #1 side turn assistance system available today by ADAC testing services, a third-party entity. With zero nuisance alerts, Side Defender® II's technology was the most reliable and successful solution compared to the competition.
Following in MEKRA's tracks, leading truck manufacturers have integrated Side Defender® II's technology into their solutions, recognizing its integrative solution is unrivaled.
More and more testing policies are continuing to be introduced, and system expectations are intensifying. Those behind the engineering and manufacturing of these safety products must begin to do more when it comes to testing and proof of reliability. At PRECO, we will not only be considering customers' requirements, but also cover many bases from regulations, requirements written by international third-party organizations, and account data received from NHTSA and other government entities involved in the prevention of traffic deaths. Ramping up our testing practices and expectations for the innovative technology behind our systems has changed our solutions for the better and will continue to do so. Now, with new safety management on our side with extensive knowledge of best practices around the world, we ensure we have a robust product that can really, truly improve safety in as many situations as possible. Available to OEMs and the aftermarket alike.