Volvo’s truck-load of hi-tech safety

Volvo has unveiled a prototype truck showcasing some of the world’s most advanced active safety technologies.

Volvo has unveiled a prototype truck showcasing some of the world’s most advanced active safety technologies.

Packed with sensors, radars, laser scanners and an assortment of cameras, the Integrated Safety Truck has been created to demonstrate technology that is being developed by a number of major car manufacturers, including Volvo, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and BMW.

Unveiled at last week’s Intelligent transport Systems congress in London, the vehicle is equipped with a range of technologies designed to create a ‘virtual safety belt’ around it.

These include a collision mitigation system that ‘sees’ obstacles in the road and automatically applies the brakes, and a lane-keeping support system to detect unintentional lane departures and trigger a driver warning or active steering system.

Previous lane-keeping assistants have relied solely on cameras to follow lane markings, but these lines are often faded, so the truck is equipped with a digital mapping system that automatically knows where they should be.

This technology will also alert the driver to approaching bends and accident black spots, correlating this information with the current weather conditions.

While there are no immediate plans to turn the safety truck into a production vehicle, it will shortly undergo its first comprehensive road trials. Gustav Markkula, a Volvo systems engineer involved in the project, said that elements of the system may then find their way on to production vehicles.

Any safety improvements will be welcomed by the trucking industry. Magnus Rilbe, manager of Intelligent Vehicle Technologies at Volvo Technology, told the congress that commercial vehicles are responsible for 300,000 injuries in Europe every year and that most of these accidents are the result of either limited visibility or limited awareness brought on by tiredness.

He added that his group is currently looking into plans to evaluate a similar system on buses.