Trucks, just like cars, can take advantage of receivers fitted to receive innovative road technology information. Safety features that provide warnings and driving information at the touch of a button or through alerts in the cab seek to make roads a safer place for all.
Whilst we have seen leaps in self-drive car technology since the first self-driving car learned how to honk its horn, will we ever reach the stage of a self-drive truck? We aren’t there yet, but safety features are now available in new build trucks, tippers and commercial haulage lorries, with after-market fits available for some technology for pre-owned or hire vehicles. See MHF Trucks more details on the kinds of vehicle.
Making life easier for commercial truck drivers
Innovative road technology is helping both the drivers and the businesses that employ them. Vehicle speed and safety monitoring and other measures such as assistive driving technology aim to reduce collisions. Vehicle tracking and reporting measures are becoming increasingly popular. Assisting with many functions and comprehensive reporting will make our roads a safer place for all users.
Tachographs have been in use for many years to regulate the number of hours worked. However, the smart tachograph is taking over, with all new haulage vehicles having them fitted from mid-2019. They use Global Navigation Satellite Systems, going beyond GPS capability. They have greater monitoring capability and share data with other systems aimed at driver and road safety. They reduce the need for many roadside inspections, with drivers not meeting requirements remotely detected. Compliant drivers will no longer face unnecessary inspections at the roadside, saving them time and money.
Lane change assist
Having seen many lorry signs saying ‘If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you,’ it is clear that blind spots are a major concern for commercial truck drivers, so drivers are alerted when traffic is approaching. The device will help drivers monitor their position within lane boundaries to prevent inadvertent lane changes. Lane change technology aims to warn drivers when they come close to another vehicle.
Automatic crash detectors
Whilst it is hoped that through the blind spot and lane warning measures, crashes will be avoided, they are inevitably a road risk. These crash detectors will notify emergency services of the crash location, with the number and type of vehicles involved to enable effective despatch of emergency responses. They can also alert other road users in the vicinity to stop or slow down when approaching the accident scene.
Weight in motion technology seeks to overcome the arduous task of driving slowly through designated lanes to monitor loaded vehicle weights. This tech enables continuous remote monitoring of vehicle weight as it travels at regular road speed. Its integration with automated number plate recognition and wireless communication enables weight restriction enforcement and road wear and tear monitoring.
Intelligent road technology offers monitoring and protection for truck drivers and road users around them. Truck, tippers, and haulier drivers in-cab capability will become more sophisticated as technology advances on vehicles and roads.
What must be remembered amongst the safety features and smart road technology available is that drivers still have a responsibility. Momentary lapses in concentration through tiredness or too long on the road are significant causes of accidents. Technology is seeking to reduce this.
The next big question – Is there so much assistive warning capability that driver’s concentration lapses and skills decline, so they become too reliant on technology? The balance of assistance and safety technology available now or in the future must not override the need for drivers to have the skills required to manage the vehicle irrespective of technology.