Freightliner LLC took its “Safety-Environment-Technology” (SET) demonstration vehicle to FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA, earlier this summer as part of a symposium highlighting recent advancements in transportation technology. The SET truck is part of DOT's Intelligent Vehicle Initiative, an effort to accelerate the development of vehicle-based driver assistance systems that warn of dangerous situations, recommend actions and even assume partial control of the vehicle to avoid collisions.
Freightliner's SET vehicle features a variety of new technologies, including:
Fuel-cell APU. A 42-volt, 5 kw auxiliary power unit, this technology enables a driver to operate accessories on a truck when it's parked, without having to idle the engine. Developed by Freightliner and Ballard Systems, the latest APU generates three times the capacity of the fuel-cell APU unveiled three years ago.
Roll Advisor & Control. Integrated into the truck's ABS, it works by tracking lateral acceleration and wheel speed to detect potential rollover situation. The system alerts the driver to a potential rollover and/or automatically slows the vehicle. Developed in conjunction with Meritor WABCO, it uses both engine and service brakes to slow down the truck. Driver warnings appear on an in-dash display.
Lane Guidance. This technology uses a digital camera and a central processing unit (CPU) to monitor a truck's position relative to lane markings, and sounds an audible warning if the truck is about to stray outside its lane.
Eaton-Vorad EVT-300 collision warning system. Alerts drivers to potential hazards such as stopped or slow-moving vehicles. The system uses front and side radar sensors to detect potentially hazardous objects in close proximity to the truck, and then alerts the driver via visual and auditory warnings. SmartCruise feature automatically maintains a pre-set speed or following distance in relation to vehicles ahead of the truck.
The Freightliner SET vehicle also incorporates a variety of active and passive safety features, including a more expansive windshield and sloped hood; daytime running lights; devices to protect traffic from wheel spray; shifting device mounted onto the steering column; and driver's side airbag.