Anti-runaway automated parking brakes aim at eliminating the risk of uncontrolled vehicle movement.
Renault Trucks has introduced anti-runaway Automated Parking Brake (Anti-RAPB) to eliminate the risk of uncontrolled vehicle movements caused by human error when a truck is idling or static. The Anti-RAPB was developed by Renault Trucks’ engineering team at Lyon in close partnership with a major fleet operator. The safety back-up device is available as a software and wiring update on all range T, C and K trucks from Renault with electronic parking brakes. In the event of the driver’s door being opened at speeds of up to 3 kmph (1.8 mph), the device activates the parking brake automatically. According to Nigel Butler, Commercial Director, Renault Trucks, “Anti-RAPB is a great example of how we at Renault Trucks, are using technology to help prevent avoidable accidents.” “Despite advances in technology, vehicle runaway situations remain common as drivers tend to get distracted when the truck is idling and simply forget to activate the park brake when they leave the vehicle to uncouple the trailer or sign a document,” he mentioned. With a slight incline enough for a 44-tonne truck to start rolling, run-away trucks continues to be serious problem.
Preventing problem before it arises
Runaway trucks can result from poorly maintained braking system or vehicle. It can also result due to the driver failing to judge the distance or make a judgement error. The Anti-RAPB that Renault Trucks has unveiled is claimed to help reduce the consequence of human error, preventing the problem before it arises. The solution is to create a ‘fail-safe’ mechanism, which can operate in two scenarios at speed below 3kph. In each case of the Renault T, C and K, the electronic park brake utilises the extensive functionality of the vehicle’s electronics systems to make the Anti-RAPB innovation possible. The system’s status is communicated to the driver through the dashboard ‘tell-tale’ messages. A typical scenario under which the Anti-RAPB works is when the truck is in neutral, and the parking brake is not applied. The driver’s door is open too. The ‘door open’ buzzer will sound momentarily, followed by the application of the parking brake. A message, ‘Park Brake Applied’ will follow. Upon closing the door and selecting drive, the parking brake will auto release when pulling away.
Another application scenario is when the vehicle is in gear, the park brake is not applied and the driver’s door is opened. The door open buzzer will activate, followed by the application of the parking brake, with the message ‘Door open. Select Neutral position before leaving vehicle’. If this message is ignored, when the door is closed the parking brake will not auto release when pulling away, so the driver must either select neutral and return to drive or manually release the parking brake. Said Butler, “Safety is of utmost importance to us, and we are committed to developing technology that provides safer environments for drivers, their colleagues working on sites or in yards as well as other road users. This device will provide a critical safety intervention in the event of an emergency, with the added interlock of speed ensuring that no action is taken if doors open above 3 kmph. Addressing the risk of runaways will also bring the additional benefit of minimising downtime and reducing repair and insurance costs caused by these incidents.”
Renault has been developing this technology for a number of years, and following requests from operators. Concerns over accidental deployment at higher speeds however meant that the launch was delayed because of the adequate safeguards that needed to be built in.