Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Technology Can Provide Some Answers to Cycling Accidents with Road Haulage Trucks

HGVs Can Use Latest Kit as Authorities Ignore Calls to Train the Potential Victims
Shipping News Feature
UK – It has been our sad task on many occasions to report the deaths and injuries which occur in urban areas when cyclists and pedestrians fall foul of HGVs involved in road haulage activities and particularly the construction industry. Despite a variety of measures, some mandatory and almost exclusively aimed at trucks and their drivers, to reduce the sad toll, there are still more steps to be taken which can help alleviate the problem.

Whilst those such as the London Mayor try to enable lorry drivers to be more aware of vulnerable road users, the call to his ilk for more training, insurance etc. amongst the cycling community, particularly to enforce a formal qualification when riding on urban roads in areas like the London Congestion Zone, go unheeded.

There are limits to what human senses can process, and lorry drivers have always been cursed with blind spots in their cabs, a problem vision panels can assist with, but not completely overcome. Now technology to assist drivers is coming into its own and radar obstacle detection can offer more protection, preventing collisions and saving lives.

Due to the number of complex blind spots on large vehicles, a single radar cannot always provide the levels of detection required. Companies such as Brigade Electronics have introduced network radar systems, which enable several sensors to be connected and linked to a single in-cab display. This limits distractions for the driver and further enhances safety by ensuring complex blind spots are eliminated.

Brigade, the first company to introduce reversing alarms into the UK market, says the data provided by its Backsense radar obstacle detection can be combined with an on-screen display and fed back to the driver via an in-cab monitor. Ideal for vehicles manoeuvring at low speed, the on-screen display warns the driver of obstacles in the danger zone by overlaying five-stage audible and visual radar data onto a camera image on the monitor. This informs the driver of the distance between the vehicle and obstacles.

Backsense uses Frequency Modulated Continuous Waves (FMCW) technology, transmitting a continuously varying radar frequency signal with time stamps unique to each instance of the wave. The time of the returning wave is referenced to the stamp without the radar needing to pause transmission. Brigade says this provides more accurate detection than alternative radar products that use pulsed radar technology, which instead transmit a burst of radar and then listen for the returning wave.

Distances on Backsense can also can be programmed to suit different-sized vehicles and applications, from 2 to 10 metres in width and 3 to 30 metres in length. Bespoke detection areas can also be set to calibrate-out fixed objects or bodywork. Such systems are not the whole solution to a deadly problem, but for road haulage operators keen to ensure their fleets are as safe as possible, it seems that the introduction of up to date technology is a step that is worth taking.