Image: Daimler Trucks North America
Fleetowner 33482 081618 Detroit Assurance 0

Next generation of advanced safety arriving

Aug. 16, 2018
Advanced safety systems for trucks have arrived at—or are nearing—new and enhanced functionality that can offer fleets even better protection.

During June, DTNA showed some of the future capabilities of its Detroit Assurance 4.0 suite of safety systems. That and other advanced safety systems for trucks have arrived at—or are nearing—new and enhanced functionality that can offer even better protection.

DTNA conducted a platooning demonstration featuring two tractor-trailers. Using vehicle-to-vehicle communications, the company's system successfully stopped the first truck from hitting a stationary object, and simultaneously stopped the electronically linked truck in the back from crashing into the back of that lead truck.

Kary Schaefer, DTNA's general manager of marketing and strategy, said about three-quarters of orders for the new Freightliner Cascadia are being spec'd with the Detroit Assurance 4.0 systems. That figure is a bit deceiving, she noted, because that system requires a Detroit engine and DT12 automated transmission as part of the package.

When factoring in orders for non-Detroit safety system for customers choosing other powertrain options, that 75% figure moves even higher.

Meanwhile, Jon Morrison, WABCO's president of the Americas, said studies have found its OnGuardActive system can result in an 87% reduction in rear-end collisions. The system alerts drivers to potentially critical driving situations and can also take corrective action to mitigate or prevent collisions.

Last fall, WABCO said it was rolling out OnSide, a radar-based blind spot detection system that provides a 160-degree field of view and coverage for up to 65% of a standard 53-ft. trailer.

When used in conjunction with OnLaneASSIST, OnSide can provide active collision avoidance, the company said, with OnLaneASSIST applying a correction torque to the steering wheel to return the vehicle towards the lane center.

Among WABCO's other offerings include the trailer anti-lock braking system and OptiFlow aerodynamic tail with automatic deployment and retraction.

In an interview with Fleet Owner, Morrison stressed the importance of the recent acquisition of R.H. Sheppard, offering the combination of active steering with braking, stability control and advanced driver assistance systems. Instead of warning-only system, active steering will help prevent trucks from drifting out of their lane and help keep it centered between road markings.

Bendix also offers a variety of existing systems and is planning several enhancements during the second half of 2018. Its Wingman Fusion systems uses radar, camera, and the vehicle's brake system to alert a driver and decrease the vehicle's speed. Fusion offers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation and braking on stationary vehicles, along with lane departure warning, and overspeed alerts. Its older generation Wingman Advances is a radar-only system, but offers many similar features.

Fred Andersky, director of customer solutions and controls for Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, said that company is nearing the launch of its next generation "Blind Spotter 2."  It will provide a much wider field of view, helping to catch smaller passenger vehicles "that have a tendency to evade mirrors" and potentially lead to sideswipe accidents, Andersky said.

He hinted the next generation of the Fusion system could be available before the end of the year. It will use the same camera and radar, meaning some feature will be retrofittable for customers.

Also before 2018 is out, demonstration on advanced steering control will get underway, and Andersky said safety technologies for trailers are also attracting more attention.

Jim Nachtman, on-highway heavy marketing director for Navistar, said a majority of orders for the company's LT series model trucks are being built with collision mitigation systems, and that there continues to be "very significant" year-over-year growth. He added safety systems are one part of a holistic safety approach in the LT series that includes lowered step heights, better visibility around the vehicles, mirrors moved further forward, LED headlamps, and optional roll side air bags.

Even the fleets that waited on the sidelines several years ago as other fleets conducted trials have seen enough data to realize they too need to invest.

More medium-duty trucks are ordering these technologies as well. For example, at the start of 2018, Kenworth Truck Co. announced it would begin offering the Bendix Wingman Fusion system as a factory-installed option on its T270 and T370 models.

Kenworth Marketing Director Kurt Swihart said the manufacturer began offering factory installation of Wingman Advanced, and it was not long after inquiries about Wingman Fusion began.

Another supplier in this space is Bosch, which is working on a lane keeping system that uses a video camera that is activated at 35 mph. The camera tracks the truck's position and detects road markings. The system intervenes when the truck does not maintain minimum distance from the marking. 

The system is initially targeting the European market and is likely to be offered in North America in the future. It is developed from Bosch's electrohydraulic steering system, which was part of a larger demonstration day during May in Michigan highlighting its Mobility Solutions division.

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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