Volvo Trucks has developed new safety technology that scans the environment around a truck, warning a driver when collisions are imminent and preventing accidents. While not commercially available, it could be on the market in five to 10 years.
The technology is part of a project that started in 2010 called Non-Hit Car and Truck, developed with Volvo Car Corp., Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology and others. The technology enables a vehicle to register and evaluate everything that is happening around it and take actions to avoid accidents.
“Our vision for traffic safety is to have no accidents involving Volvo trucks,” said Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director at Volvo Trucks. “This unique technology has taken us yet another step towards our vision and will hopefully save many lives in the future.”
The technology acts as a data platform that combines information from cameras, radars, and sensors mounted on all sides of the truck, performing a 360-degree scan every 25 milliseconds.
The data is analyzed and the system tries to predict if a collision might happen, warning the driver or in some cases, stopping the vehicle automatically. The system is so observant that in some cases, it can predict a problem up to 5 seconds before it happens, says Volvo.
“In many ways the technology serves as a co-driver – but one that can see all around the vehicle,” says Mansour Keshavarz, systems engineer at Volvo Trucks. “It can also alert the driver to things that are happening so that he or she can react by warning with an alarm signal, or braking to avoid a collision.”
The technology is still not ready to be applied to current generations of trucks. There are still some hurdles to overcome when developing automation in heavy vehicles, and Volvo believes the technology is about five to 10 years away from market introduction.
“Trucks are a different type of vehicle and do not act the same way as cars in traffic,” said Kashavarz. “We have the main components in place but we need to do a lot more testing in order to make sure that the system is fault-free.”