A new collision-mitigation technology expected next year from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems will warn a truck driver when a crash with a stationary vehicle is imminent and—if he or she does not respond fast enough—slow down the truck automatically. Current systems can use the brakes to match the speed of forward-moving vehicles but warn truck drivers only of stopped ones.
Believed to be the first of its kind for commercial vehicles in North America, Bendix's next-generation safety technology combines vehicle-stability, adaptive-cruise and lane-departure controls, which use ABS brakes, forward-radar sensors and cameras.
"This will bring them together and allow the radar, camera and brake systems to talk to each other," says T.J. Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix's controls group. The current system can detect only a metallic object in the path of the truck and give the driver up to three seconds of warnings, he adds.
About 10% of all new highway tractors are equipped with collision-mitigation technologies, Bendix estimates. The number is growing as regulators, insurance companies and fleet owners look to reduce the risk of driver distractions and fatigue.
A rule pending at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would require vehicle-stability controls on heavy trucks. Experts predict that, by 2020, anti-collision controls such as the one Bendix is unveiling next year also will be required. Mandating the technology "is a possibility because it addresses key accident scenarios that are on the road," Thomas says.
Such systems have the potential to reduce more accidents than current ones, regulators estimate. Systems that react to non-moving objects would cut rear-end crashes by 28%, fatalities by 44% and injuries by 47%, NHTSA reports.