Volvo Trucks Works to Solve Right-Turn Blind Spot Problem

The Swedes at Volvo Trucks keep themselves busy trying to find a solution to the right-turn problem, as 20 percent of all accidents between road users and trucks occur when the truck turns right at a junction. Truck drivers have difficulties spotting pedestrians and cyclists due to the blind spot, and the fitting of no less than four rear-view mirrors is not what you’d call an ideal solution to that problem.

As part of its contribution to Intersafe-2, an EU-financed project that focuses on making crossroads less dangerous, Volvo Trucks' contribution to the project is a system that aims at solving the problem of the truck driver's blind spot on the passenger side.

Laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors that monitor the area on the right have been fitted on a test truck. When a cyclist or pedestrian gets too close, the truck driver is alerted by flashing lamps and audible warning signals.In addition to the legally required rear-view mirrors, these solutions include reversing cameras and Lane Change Support, a system that helps the driver change lanes safely.

Here's how the system works:
• Laser scanners and ultrasound sensors are positioned at the front and on the right of the truck to cover the areas that the driver cannot see, in other words the traditional blind spots.
• A TV monitor provides a birds-eye view of what the truck looks like from above.
• A camera fitted just inside the windscreen monitors what the road junction looks like (the number of lanes, positioning of stop lines etc.).
• A radio receiver fitted on the truck roof communicates directly with the traffic lights. For instance, it registers if someone has pressed the button at the pedestrian crossing and notes which traffic lights are showing red and green respectively.

All this data is processed and a status assessment is performed. Based on the status assessment, the truck driver is either alerted to the presence of a vulnerable road-user or warned of an imminent collision. There are two solutions for informing/warning the driver: flashing lights or sound. The warning is more urgent in intensity than the information message.
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