New driver assistance systems to prevent truck rear-end collisions

In the run-up to the IAA Commercial Vehicles the supplier ZF presents two driver assistance systems that could significantly improve safety on motorways.

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Truck rear-end collisions at the end of a traffic jam: Thanks to the new driver assistance systems of ZF and Wabo, this horror scenario could soon be a thing of the past. (Picture: ZF)

Time and again, we witness serious rear-end collisions on motorways because truck drivers react too late to the end of traffic jams. To counter this threat, the supplier ZF developed the Highway Driving Assistant (HDA) and –in collaboration with their project partner Wabco- the Evasive Maneuver Assist (EMA). ZFA promises that if it becomes necessary, the EMA takes over the control over the steering wheel. The assistance system detects if the automatic emergency brake systems (AEBS) or an emergency brake performed by the driver himself is necessary to stop in front of an obstacle in time. If a collision cannot be prevented by the braking manoeuvre, a steering impulse from the driver to the left or to the right activates the assistance system. It then autonomously guides the truck with the trailer to a free traffic or service lane – even under maximum speed.

“In case of unexpected manual evasive manoeuvres there is always a risk that either the driver steers to weakly and thereby provokes a collision. The second risk is that he steers too strongly and abrupt which could provoke the truck’s skidding or tipping over which is also a risk to other road users” says Mitja Schulz, Senior Vice President and Manager of Steering systems for commercial vehicles at ZF TRW. Such scenarios could be avoided reliably by EMA.

Always on the right track

The ends of a traffic jam or unclear traffic situations are not the only cases with a high potential for accidents. Serious accidents are also often caused by carelessness, distraction or microsleeps. The Highway Driving Pilot (HDA) has been developed to prevent this. According to ZF, the system not only warns the driver in case of unintentional lane shifting but also keeps the trailer on track autonomously. At the same time, the HDA monitors the safety distance to the vehicle in front at all speeds and including stops and starts.

Both systems are still prototypes. At least the Highway Driving Pilot shall be ready for series production within the next two years.


Read more: The danger of accident lurking in the blind spot

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