Active safety engages the Four Is
Further commercial vehicle safety improvement lies in integrating safety technologies
By Fred Andersky
Active safety technologies, available to help motorcoach drivers mitigate disaster, typically provide visual and audio alerts to the driver of potential danger. In addition, the systems deliver data instantly through telematics to fleet managers. This data offers insight into potential driving issues that need attention.
These systems provide tangible benefits relevant to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) mandate.
The Four Is of active safety
For operators to maintain the safest fleet possible, an understanding of the Four Is of active safety technologies is an essential.
Information — Sensors and other inputs deliver information on the immediate state of the vehicle systems and components, as well as alerts to surrounding outside dangers.
Intelligence — Information travels to the system’s electronic control unit (ECU), which analyzes the information and determines the necessary intervention.
Intervention — Intervention in the form of alerts makes drivers aware of situations and actions to mitigate loss of control of the vehicle.
Insight — In a commercial vehicle environment driven by CSA scores. Fleet managers can focus driver and maintenance training by applying insight into the performance and diagnostic data.
ESC is the foundation
Electronic Stability Control (ESC), introduced in 2005, helps drivers significantly mitigate loss-of-control situations that lead to accidents. ESC technology involves brake interventions to make automatic corrections to the steering and drive axles. A lateral acceleration sensor alerts potential rollover conditions, while other sensors pick up on driver intent and vehicle direction.
In May 2012, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking, requiring full-stability technology on all motorcoaches and truck tractors. ESC technology could come standard as early as 2016.
Collision mitigation braking
Collision mitigation braking systems, built on full-stability technology, use a radar sensor mounted to the front of the vehicle that tracks metallic objects ahead on the road. These systems deliver warnings and active interventions to help prevent rear-end collisions, or at least reduce their severity.
Two types of intervention
Adaptive cruise control with braking helps the driver maintain a set following distance. When the gap between the coach and the vehicle ahead closes, the system provides alerts and, if necessary, automatically reduces the throttle, engages the engine retarder or applies the brakes.
Collision mitigation technology, such as Bendix® Wingman® Advanced™, provides braking when a collision is imminent. The technology alerts the driver before applying the brakes, giving him the opportunity to brake sooner or steer to avoid a potential collision.
This technology also notes dangerous stationary objects in the lane of travel, such as a stalled car, and warns the driver up to three seconds in advance of a potential collision. This gives the driver time to slow down or change lanes.
System integration advances safety
Information detection and delivery represents the fastest advancement in active safety technologies. Sensor fusion involves the camera, used in lane departure warning systems, and radar working together. Fusing the information from these sensors leads to more correct decisions and actions.
Input from additional sensors such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure and infrastructure-to-vehicle (V2X) all combine to provide helpful data to mitigate dangerous situations.
Insight derived from interventions and alerts can help managers understand a specific event or track trends regarding a driver or motorcoach.
Event capture technology triggers video of the seconds before and after an incident, which helps put the event into context. It offers insight into what happened, showing road conditions, visibility, weather, and other mitigating circumstances.
Technology can assist, but never replace, drivers practicing safe driving backed by comprehensive training.
Improvement could be the subsequent fifth I.
Fred Andersky serves as director of Government and Industry Affairs for Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, LLC, Elyria, OH.