What is a Blind Spot Detection System, and could it work for HGVs?
HGV Blindspot safety technology will be used extensively in testing by the Transport Research Laboratory. It is part of a drive to cut the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the roads of London by 40% by 2020. The technology uses ultrasonic proximity sensors positioned over the wheel arches of the vehicle to spot pedestrians and cyclists.
The system also uses, side and rear camera systems which offer the option of a turn alarm, and even radar detection which can be fitted to the HGVs. The sensors and cameras warn the driver of any vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians within the blind spots.
Accidents involving large lorries and cyclists is a problem in all cities across the UK, although crashes are extremely rare. There are, on average, around eight cyclists killed each year by lorries in London, which is around half of all cycling deaths in the capital each year. Across the country, around 28 people are killed every year in accidents involving lorries and cyclists, and 70% of these are in cities. Despite these relatively small numbers, media coverage makes it seem as if it is a big problem, but the figures tell a different story.
Despite the rarity, accidents involving HGV’s and cyclists are nearly always serious, as well as costly. A fatal crash is reported to cost around £1.6million per person, so something needs to be done to reduce these figures, and this is where Blindspot technology comes into play. Using the latest figures from research helps to create detailed performance criteria for independent testing and evaluation. Experts can analyse the data and look at how well distance objects can be seen and how effective and reliable the detection equipment is when considering the most vulnerable road users.
The Transport Research Lab says the new technology will allow hauliers to make an informed choice about which types of safety equipment to buy for their fleets, as well as encouraging further developments and innovation.
Once the research is finished the results will be made available to download from TfL’s website, and managing director Leon Daniels said the research is being conducted because the lab sees protecting road users as vitally important. With technology moving on so fast more products are coming onto the market to improve safety and it is important people know they are getting the right equipment and the right prices.