ArvinMeritor introduced OnGuard, which it calls the first collision safety system with active braking for commercial vehicles in North America, at a special ride-and-drive event held ahead of the Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting last month in Orlando.

The active system combines forward-looking radar with the engine and air brakes so a tractor-trailer can be slowed and stopped automatically to help prevent collisions, according to Arvin Meritor.

“It's the right product, for the right market, at the right time,” said Jean-Christophe Figueroa, vp-vehicle dynamics and control at Brussels-based component supplier Wabco, which helped developed OnGuard through its Meritor Wabco joint venture with ArvinMeritor.

ArvinMeritor said the new system will reach the market in the third quarter this year. “We are launching this product in the North American market first, then Europe second,” noted Figueroa.

While OnGuard's forward-looking mono-pulse radar sensor can detect multiple moving and fixed objects at distances up to 500 ft., the system is most effective at “locking in” on relevant objects at distances of 275 to 325 ft., which is a three-second following distance at highway speed. If a moving object is detected, the system automatically engages the throttle, engine retarder and service brakes when it senses a likely collision without immediate action from the driver.

If necessary, OnGuard can produce a deceleration rate up to 0.25 Gs and will continue as long as the forward object remains in view of the radar and is perceived as a collision threat. It will disengage when the driver takes over and manually applies the brakes, said Alan Korn, chief engineer-vehicle dynamics & control for Meritor Wabco.

“The key to remember is that this is an accident-mitigation system, not an accident-avoidance system,” Korn told Fleet Owner. “If an accident is unavoidable, system intervention minimizes the impact. What we don't want to do is encourage a driver not to brake. We want the system to begin braking, and then re-engage the driver in the situation. It makes up for that time period when the truck driver is distracted for any reason.”

“All drivers experience periods of distraction,” noted Jon Morrison, president & gm of Meritor Wabco. “This system helps drivers navigate such challenges and return home safely. What it provides in the end is peace of mind.”

OnGuard coordinates responses from the engine, transmission and antilock braking systems via an SAE J1939 data network. It provides feedback to the driver through an in-cab dash display, which includes progressive audible alerts.

ArvinMeritor, which noted that OnGuard has been field-tested on over 10-million fleet-miles, said the list price will start at $4,500. It's currently installed on 200 vehicles and will be available as a factory-installed option on several trucks brands by the third quarter of this year.

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