Trailer Talk

Samsung System Tells Motorists When It's Safe to Pass

Ever get stuck behind a semi you want to pass? You'd appreciate the large-screen TV on its rear doors.

June 22, 2015

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Don't pass yet, says the image on the TV screen. Photos via Samsung and YouTube
Don't pass yet, says the image on the TV screen. Photos via Samsung and YouTube

Samsung, the world-wide electronics manufacturer, operates its own distribution fleet in Argentina, and notes that nearly one person per hour is killed in traffic accidents. And 80% of those are wrecks where motorists try to pass slower vehicles on two-lane roads.

This situation was common in the U.S. before Interstate highways were built, and still is where people live far from multi-lane freeways. It’s especially difficult to pass a big rig because you can’t see around it. Frustration leads to impatience and motorists take chances, and end up in deadly head-on crashes.

Samsung has the technical know-how to do something about this, and has. It installed a system on one of its tractor-trailers which uses a camera in the grille that shoots video of the road ahead, and beams it wirelessly to TV panels on the trailer’s rear. Motorists can look at the large screen and see what’s in front of the rig, and whether or not it’s safe to pass.

Now it's safe to go. But, would a rear-door TV showing the road ahead be practical? Photos via Samsung and YouTube
Now it's safe to go. But, would a rear-door TV showing the road ahead be practical? Photos via Samsung and YouTube

The company produced a video now posted on YouTube that shows it in action. We don’t know if this system is on more than one Samsung rig, if it’s available for sale (we doubt it, but are trying to find out), what it would cost for others to buy and install, or how practical it would be in everyday operations. But it’s sure seems like a neat idea. 

Note that Argentina’s highways look a lot like ours, even to lane widths, white lines along the pavement edges, and yellow center stripes in no-passing zones.  That was also true in Brazil when I was there back in 1986.

One big difference is heavy-truck configurations: The cabover dominates. That’s because most builders who manufacture there are from Europe and Asia, where conventionals are rare.

Of course, languages are different, too – Spanish in Argentina and a New World form of Portugese in Brazil. The Samsung video's labels are in English, but even without them we could deduce what's going on. 

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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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