Improving blind spot awareness

Volvo Trucks is showcasing a new technology today that aims to solve the problem of a truck driver’s blind spot. The company is showing the technology at the Intersafe 2 EU demonstration in Wolfsburg, Germany.

t2011_1108.jpg“Above all, it is changes on the passenger side of the truck that the driver does not see. Pedestrians and cyclists, in particular, are really in danger here. This system alerts the driver about their movements on the right of the vehicle,” said Malte Ahrholdt, project manager at Volvo Technology.

By using laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors, the technology helps detect pedestrians and bicyclists who may be in a driver’s blind spot before the vehicle makes a right-hand turn, putting innocent people at risk.

According to Volvo, the technology positions the scanners and sensors at the front and on the right of the truck to monitor areas that drivers cannot see. A TV monitor provides a look at the truck from above and a camera placed just inside the windscreen shows the intersection.

Utilizing a radio receiver fitted on the truck roof, the system communicates with the traffic light to recognize whether someone has pressed the pedestrian crossing button and also which traffic lights are currently showing red and green. The information from this and the lasers and sensors is processed and the driver is alerted via lights or sound to either the presence of a pedestrian or an imminent collision.

“As long as there is a need for transporting goods in cities, there will be trucks on the streets. Volvo Trucks is working on all fronts to improve safety - with enhanced information and advanced technology such as the existing reversing cameras and lane change support. Even so, there are other things we can do to improve the situation still further, and the right-hand turn has been identified as a particularly relevant safety issue,” said Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director at Volvo Trucks.

Intersafe 2 is a European Union funded project that is developing a Cooperative Intersection Safety System (CISS) with a goal of improving safety at intersections by as much as 80%. Volvo Trucks is studying trucker’s blind spots as part of the project. The project is not designed to lead to specific traffic solutions, but rather to serve as a demonstration of how intelligent technology can assist in tackling problems.

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