Volvo Trucks displays “thinking” trucks

Volvo Trucks displays “thinking” trucks

According to Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic & product safety director at Volvo Trucks, it is entirely realistic to have a long-term zero vision regarding accidents involving trucks.

He added that tomorrow's safety solutions include an all-new generation of driver-assistance systems that build on dialogue between drivers, electronic functions and the surrounding traffic environment, making the vehicle itself more or less automated depending on the circumstances.

However, he concedes that technology can never be allowed to fully take over responsibility for driving.

Volvo's latest technological solutions in the field of active safety include Automated Queue Assistance, a function whereby the vehicle accelerates and brakes automatically at low speeds, for instance in slow-moving traffic tailbacks.

Volvo Trucks has also revealed a truck that is part of an EU project entitled "Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport" (HAVEit). It is a major investment in intelligent next-generation vehicles featuring advanced driver-assistance systems.

One of the special features in the HAVEit trucks is E-horizon, which links to map databases to provide the driver with information about hills, curves and junctions ahead on the route. The driveline is accordingly adapted so that progress is as efficient and economical as possible.

Volvo has also revealed trucks from the international Safespot project and the Co-operative Vehicle Infrastructure Systems (CVIS) project.

Safespot examines how tomorrow's cars and trucks can communicate with one another and with the surrounding infrastructure, and has defined and tested various applications based primarily on the vehicle, such as safety in junctions, warning of frontal impact, warning of poor road surface or detection of cyclists and pedestrians. The CVIS project focuses on infrastructure-based applications.

These applications encompass speed alerts, warnings of accidents on the road and the creation of safety margins for emergency rescue vehicles, among others. The driver receives the information via a display screen or in the form of audio/visual signals in the vehicle cab. However, the information can also be transmitted via signs or flashing lights at the side of the road.

Volvo Trucks has also presented the euroFOT research project, which involves 28 European companies and organisations and aims to to create safer and more efficient road transport by collecting valuable data from the traffic environment. The project aims to get underway in 2010, with Volvo trucks kitted out with a variety of monitoring devices driving on the roads, gathering data over a period of one year.

"This gives us a new opportunity to register in detail a wide variety of potentially dangerous situations, study driver behaviour, evaluate the benefits of new accident-prevention safety systems, and build up knowledge for the development of forthcoming technologies," said Almqvist.

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