Field study looks at night vision

March 27, 2002
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems has wrapped up a two-million mile field test of its Xvision night-vision system and feels the results illustrate both the advantages and limitations for trucking operators. Speaking at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, Bendix director of safety and comfort business Andrea Raaber explained that the 20-vehicle test involving trucks from a range of fleets operation
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems has wrapped up a two-million mile field test of its Xvision night-vision system and feels the results illustrate both the advantages and limitations for trucking operators.

Speaking at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, Bendix director of safety and comfort business Andrea Raaber explained that the 20-vehicle test involving trucks from a range of fleets operation showed the infrared detection systems can vastly expand a driver's field of vision at night.

However, the test showed the system could be rendered ineffective by rain and fog, largely because infrared systems are based on thermal detection technology. Rain and fog dampen the heat emitted by both people and objects, Raaber noted, reducing the detection ability of the system.

The tests showed a driver would be able to detect objects at greater distances and have more reaction time with an infrared vision system than with headlights alone. Xvision detected objects a minimum of 1,500 feet in front of the trucks, giving drivers 15 seconds of reaction time at 60 mph, Raaber said. Headlights only illuminate 300 feet of area ahead of a truck, giving drivers only 3.4 seconds of reaction time at 60 mph, she said.

Drivers did not report any eye strain or fatigue associated with viewing the thermal imaging display and reported that the system was effective in dusty or smoky conditions, according to Raabner.

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