Technology for safer truck queuing

Göteborg, Sweden: Volvo Trucks demonstrated a prototype system to helps drivers in slow-moving queues by taking control of the vehicle.

More than 20% of all accidents involving trucks take place in traffic queues or similar situations, the company says.

The Automated Queue Assistance system was demonstrated at the HAVEit event in Sweden last month. HAVEit – which stands for Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport – is an EU-funded project whose purpose is the development of next-generation intelligent vehicles. Since the project got under way in 2008, seven intelligent and autonomous solutions have been developed.

They are now being demonstrated as the project reaches its conclusion. One of the systems is Volvo Trucks’ Automated Queue Assistance.

Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director, Volvo Trucks, says: “Driving in a traffic queue is a very monotonous process. The driver may be at a standstill for long periods of time and in such a situation it is easy to become distracted, leading to accidents.”

Cold Chain News

Volvo Trucks demonstrated a prototype system to helps drivers in slow-moving queues by taking control of the vehicle

The technology developed for Automated Queue Assistance helps minimise risks in queues. By equipping the truck with a number of technical features that can take control of the vehicle’s steering and speed, the driver gets help in driving the vehicle and maintaining a proper level of concentration.

When in a traffic queue the driver can choose whether or not to activate the system, which operates at low speeds. It is possible to retake manual control at any time. The driver is always ultimately responsible for the vehicle, so to ensure proper focus on the traffic a camera registers how attentive the driver is and issues an alert if it detects a lack of concentration.

The aim of AQuA is to reduce the driver’s burden behind the wheel, improve safety and reduce environmental impact by preventing accidents that in turn may cause new traffic queues. However, it will be some time before we see AQuA on the market – the technology needs further refinement.

End-customer acceptance of the new technology is a critical factor. “Our experience shows that it takes time for people to build up faith and hand over control to new systems,” he says.

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