Volvo Trucks has revealed that the first results of the pan-European euroFOT field study show that its active safety systems help drivers avoid accidents. The four-year euroFOT (European Field Operation Test) project encompassed a total of 28 partners that have studied systems designed to help drivers of cars and trucks detect risks, prevent accidents and make driving more efficient. Volvo Trucks participated in the study as part of a Swedish team together with Volvo Car Corporation and the Chalmers University of Technology of Gothenburg.
The study reveals that the number of rear-end impacts on motorways can be cut by up to 15% for trucks equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) systems, which are used together to maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front and thus avoid rear-end collisions. The study also shows that there is considerable potential for increasing the figure. The statistical basis for Lane Keeping Support (LKS) systems has been too small to be able to draw any reliable conclusions on accident avoidance, but it has been proven that the system does help drivers maintain a steadier course on the road. The three tested systems have not shown any negative effects on driver behavior.
In the study, each truck was equipped with five video cameras, which covered: the driver’s view in the direction of travel; the driver’s blind spot on the passenger side; the driver’s right foot; driver behavior from the A-pillar: and the driver’s eye movements. Together with all available data from the truck’s onboard electronic control units (ECU), including parameters such as current speed, the filmed footage provided unique material totaling about 70TB of data. Four million kilometers of truck traffic is now ready for analysis, and another four million kilometers can be obtained from the system, with the data also being made available to the academic world due to the partnership with Chalmers University.
Karsten Heinig, manager of the project at Volvo Trucks, explained, “This is material that will serve as a rich source as we now step up the pace of development for safer traffic. In our part of the project, we studied 30 trucks operating with two haulage firms, DHL Tradeteam in the UK and Nijhof Wassink in the Netherlands. We examined the effectiveness of three systems: ACC, FCW and LKS. On average, the systems are used less than half of the driving time. If usage increases, this will bring about a further reduction in accidents. There is also some technical scope for us to make the systems more user-friendly. We are sometimes asked if we aren’t worried that these systems might disturb drivers or cause them to lose their focus behind the wheel. But data analysis in euroFOT has shown no such effect.”
28 June 2012
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