Mack has provided more details on its role in the cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway Administration to test advanced safety systems. Freightliner, Volvo, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation are heading up three other safety testing programs.
The Mack-led program includes a comprehensive field test involving 40 Macks owned by a leading tank carrier, McKenzie Tank Lines of Tallahassee, Fla.
Other organizations supporting the Mack partnership are Xata Corporation, Vehicle Enhancement Systems (VES), and Richard Bishop Consulting, working with the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state DOTs.
One of the systems, called the "Infrastructure Assisted Hazardous Warning System," is an advanced safety system that alerts drivers, via an in-dash display, when they approach potentially hazardous areas of the highway. These areas, such as high-accident areas, certain exit ramps, construction areas, etc., are identified by the appropriate state departments of transportation. When a vehicle enters a hazardous zone, the on-board system will notify the driver and record pertinent information.
Another part of the testing will involve an "Automatic Collision Notification System." When this on-board system senses that an incident may be imminent, data is automatically recorded before and after the incident. The system then determines the location of the vehicle and automatically notifies fleet headquarters and the appropriate agencies.
"Mack's role is to thoroughly test and evaluate in a real operational environment the performance of these systems, including sensors, processing algorithms, and driver-vehicle interface," said Mark Kachmarsky, Mack manager of vehicle electronic products.
Both systems will be installed on vehicles through the third quarter of 2000 and subsequently evaluated for 18 months. While no actual incidents are expected to occur during the duration of the testing, the partners intend to simulate several incidents, in conjunction with state and local authorities, to test the effectiveness of the system.