Volvo GroupTue, 09/15/2015 - 19:58
When it appeared in the market, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) was a major innovation in the automotive industry and a huge step toward autonomous driving. Nevertheless, this technology alone could only function in certain conditions, and was sidelined as an aid for normal driving situations. One of the major challenges for automation technologies is how to make driving safer, preventing as many accidents as possible, and it was with this goal in mind that many companies started to work on better safety electronics. Systems such as Lane Keeping Assistance (LKAS) and Driver Alert Support help the driver focus on the road. Additionally, features like Anti-Block System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) that help the vehicle keep its balance in emergency situations. However, none of these systems are capable of absolutely preventing an accident, and they are of no use if the driver does not respond to the emergency. For that reason, Volvo Group has now developed a system included in its trucks, to be able to act in these situations even if the driver is not aware of the danger.
The Collision Warning System with Emergency Braking has been a sensation in the industry. This feature is now included in the Volvo FH Series, and it has helped to reduce rear-end collisions significantly by autonomously braking or at least slowing down the truck in imminent collision situations. With a radar sensor located directly behind the grill, the truck knows how close it is to the nearest vehicle. At the same time, a camera located at the top of the windscreen gives information on what type of vehicle the truck has ahead. This data normally feeds the ACC system, in order to keep a fixed distance with the next vehicle. However, in case this car brakes without warning or if another driver cuts in front of the driver, the Collision Warning System activates. In either of those cases, the first thing the system does is alert the driver with a fixed signal in the windscreen. If there is no response from the operator, this signal starts to blink and a loud audio alert is activated. If still the driver does not hit the brakes, the system autonomously starts to apply them with a limited force. In an imminent collision situation without any response from the operator, the emergency brakes are fully activated, avoiding the crash or at least diminishing the speed of the impact. The system has been engineered to deal with stationary and moving obstacles, and at relative speeds of up to 70km/h. Obviously, these emergency braking situations can be abrupt, perhaps unnerving drivers behind the truck. For that reason, Volvo has also introduced its new braking light system, alerting other vehicles on the road in case of an emergency situation, by flashing the brake lights rapidly.