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m.logistics Magazine | On Track & On Target | All-round sensors the key to Volvo’s ‘accident-free truck’

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30 December 2014

All-round sensors the key to Volvo’s ‘accident-free truck’

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Volvo's accident-free truck

Volvo Trucks has unveiled its vision of a future vehicle that will be able to scan everything happening around it and prompt the driver to take avoiding action if it detects an impending accident. The company says the technology can scan multiple sources simultaneously, and likens its functioning to that of the human mind.

It’s not pie in the sky; the components already exist, and are said to be in a test phase. The main element is a data platform that combines the input from cameras, radar and other sensors positioned on all sides of the vehicle. This enables the truck to perform a 360-degree scan of its surroundings every 25 milliseconds. 

The data input is interpreted, risk situations are analysed, and different route options for the vehicle are generated. Volvo says the system is clever enough to differentiate between pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and other vehicles, since it can sense both their distance and direction.

According to Mansour Keshavarz, systems engineer at Volvo Trucks: “The technology can predict traffic scenarios up to five seconds ahead, depending on the speed of the objects, and map out the best plan of action.”

The technology is the result of a research project called “Non-hit car and truck”, mounted in co-operation with Volvo Cars. The bad news: it could be five to ten years before it will be a standard system on trucks, which by their nature are much more complex and less nimble in traffic than cars. The good news: Volvo reckons it means that a truly accident-free truck really is within reach.


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