Safety at Volvo Trucks

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Intelligent and innovative safety technologies developed by Volvo Trucks promise zero accidents.

Story by: Anirudh Raheja

Safety is endemic to the Swedish society. It lays much emphasis on accident prevention. If this will help to explain why safety is synonymous with Volvo, which has a long history of establishing safety milestones, at its Experience Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, recently provided an insight into the safety technologies it has developed. With high commitment to safety, the Swedish truck giant is working on a plethora of technologies that could lead to connected vehicles, and eventually to truly autonomous machines. Present in 68 countries, including India, Volvo Trucks is pro-actively expanding the envelope of automotive safety. With an eye on rising vehicular population, and the resulting challenges, the company is focusing on smart safety technologies like emergency braking and collision warning.

The root of both these technologies lies in accidents where the following vehicle rear-ends the vehicle ahead. The results of which are often disastrous. Underlining the phenomenon of better infrastructure leading to more vehicles and higher traffic speeds, Helene Mellquist, Senior Vice President, Volvo Trucks International, expressed that rear-end collisions account for one-fifth of the overall accidents that involve trucks. “Since November 2015, it is mandatory to equip every two and three-axle trucks with an automatic emergency braking system across the European Union,” she said. According to the EU legislation, the braking system should be effective in slowing down a truck by 10 kmph. The target for next year is 20 kmph. Of the opinion that the amount of jerk that will emanate from such an excercise will cause the driver pain. To avoid this, Volvo Trucks, according to Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic and Products Safety Director, has developed a system that alerts the driver well in advance. If the driver does not pay heed to the warning, the emergency brakes are applied. Mentioned Almqvist, “If you are driving at 80 kmph when the emergency braking system is deployed, there is a need to cut down the speed by more than 20 kmph to avoid a nasty collision because the vehicle ahead has come to a standstill.”

Offering a first-hand feel of the technology on a Volvo FH16 750 carrying a load of over 40-tonnes, the engineers of the company explained how the system works. Noticing another vehicle in front, the truck shed speed from 80 kmph to a standstill in less than 40 m. The braking speed recorded was up to seven-meter per second square. The system, with standard ABS deployed on both the tractor and the trailer, is laced with a camera and radar technology to monitor the vehicular movement ahead of the truck. It is engineered to brave adverse weather conditions. Sensing the risk of a collision, the system gives out a sharp audio warning, closely followed by an escalating lighting combination. If the driver fails to respond, emergency braking is activated. At other times, when the system notices a lack of steering movement, it engages the parking brake in five seconds to avoid a roll over. To warn the following traffic, brakes lights begin to flash.

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Self-driving refuse truck

The self-driving refuse truck Volvo engineers have developed in association with Renova aims for safer, and efficient refuse handling. It provides an insight into how the refuse trucks of tomorrow will be like; how safe they will be. Meant to create a better working environment for drivers, the truck is driven manually the first time it visits a locality. The on-board system constantly monitors and maps the route with the help of sensors and GPS technology. The next time the truck visits the locality, it knows exactly which route to follow, and at which bins to stop. At the first stop with the automated system activated, the driver climbs out of the cab, goes to the rear of the truck, brings out the wheelie-bin and empties it exactly the way it is done with a conventional refuse truck. When the operation is completed, the truck automatically reverses to the next bin upon receiving the driver’s command. The driver walks the very same route that the truck takes. He thus has a full view of what’s happening in the direction of travel always.

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By reversing the truck, the driver can constantly remain close to the compactor unit instead of having to repeatedly walk between the rear and the cab every time the truck is on the move. And since the driver doesn’t have to climb in and out of the cab at every start and stop, there’s less risk of work related injuries such as strain on the knees and other joints. Carrying the same genetic pattern of autonomous Volvo trucks operating in Kristineberg mine in northern Sweden, the autonomous refuse truck, according to Almqvist, comes to an immediate halt if the sensors monitoring the surrounding area notice another object in close vicinity. The commercial application of such a refuse truck is still some time away. There’s more research to be done, and especially in the wake of the regulation that does not allow trucks to be reversed for reasons of safety. Issues like these, and others need to be addressed. A detailed story on the autonomous refuse truck is featured ahead in the issue.

Platooning

A convoy of three Volvo FH trucks, as part of an exercise to forward the cause of vehicle automation, under the supervision of the Dutch government, travelled from the Volvo headquarters at Gothenburg to Rotterdam in March 2017. As part of the European Union truck platooning challenge, the three Volvo trucks were driven through five countries while communicating wirelessly with each other through cameras and radars. The communication between the trucks was carried out through G5, a special frequency dealing with encrypted data traffic. The frequency enabled either truck to match the speed of the other trucks, which is essential to a platoon. With a one-second gap between the two trucks, the rate of acceleration and deceleration matched. A glimpse of how the system works was had with the camera fitted on the lead truck sending the footage to the two other trucks in the platoon. While the other drivers continued to steer the vehicle, acceleration and braking was automated. Traveling at 80 kmph, the trucks in the platoon maintained a 22 m gap between each other. The seemingly small gap reduced wind drag. Developing autonomous steering as an effort to reach the goal of a truly self-driving truck, Volvo is aware of the associated risks; the need for the drivers to be ready, and to accept it commercially.

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Visibility and driver awareness

Volvo Trucks is working closely with the Swedish Government to impart training to drivers through the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), Lindholmen. VTI, in 2011, inaugurated its Sim IV simulator, which produces a large stroke liner motion in both lateral and longitudinal directions. A system consists of three LCD screens for rear view mirrors and nine projector modules for 180 degree forward field view. It is designed such that it studies the driver reactions and imparts training on maneouvring the truck in different situations. The number of accidents involving trucks has fallen as per the Volvo Trucks Safety Report for 2017. The report has mentioned that there are still a considerable number of drivers who do not wear a seat belt. Highlighting the need to focus on pedestrian safety, and that of the cyclists and motorcycles, the report has emphasized on active safety measures like increased seat belt usage, driver awareness as well as direct and indirect visibility from the cab, driver coaching services that provide direct feedback to the driver, and Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB) system.

The current AEB system as per the legislature, is designed to mitigate or avoid rear-end accidents. It will have to, in the future, include scenarios involving pedestrians and cyclists (VRUs). This would call for detection systems that identify VRUs in close proximity to a truck. Also, Cooperative Intelligent Traffic Systems (C-ITS) that enable communication between vehicles and infrastructure. Opined Peter Wells, Head, Volvo Trucks Accident Research, “Often there are these minor factors that foster a safe environment. They also lead to product improvement.” Volvo engineers have set up cameras that complement the rear view mirrors. The combination of cameras and mirrors is aimed at eliminating the limitations posed by a human eye. “There are blind spots around the truck for a driver. Different traffic situations call for them to be dealt accordingly. It is a joint responsibility of the society to see and be seen to elevate road safety,” averred Almqvist. He concluded, that it is important to educate the young and the adults.

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Dearman hybrid bus completes trials

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Running on diesel and liquid nitrogen, the Dearman hybrid bus has successfully completed rigorous trials.

Team CV

A revolutionary hybrid bus that runs on both diesel and liquid nitrogen, powered by the UK-developed Dearman engine, has completed rigorous trials, bringing it one-step closer to the road. Expected to accelerate the use of liquid nitrogen for primary power, the hybrid bus – CE Power – has turned out to be the world’s first commercial vehicle of its kind to be powered by liquid nitrogen. Built by engineers at Horiba Mira as part of an Innovate UK consortium, the bus utilises alternative propulsion to address urban air pollution challenges and features a high-efficiency, zero emission Dearman engine, powered by liquid nitrogen, alongside a conventional diesel engine. The hybrid system enables the bus to reduce noxious tail-pipe emissions, improving local air quality. With the Innovate UK consortium comprising of leading leading industry, academic and local and national governmental organisations like Dearman, Air Products, Cenex, Coventry University, Horiba Mira, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Productiv Ltd, and TRL (Transport Research Laboratory), the CE Power uses a hybrid propulsion system to reduce emissions during acceleration.

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As part of a bus’ drive cycle, acceleration traditionally has a heavy impact on the diesel engine as it moves away from standstill. The engine can produce vast amounts of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions, which are harmful. As the Dearman engine produces none of these harmful emissions, it will enable the bus to continue to frequently stop to unload and pull away from a bus stop without expelling the same level of damaging pollutants. Whilst driving at 20 mph or below, the liquid nitrogen, stored in a low pressure insulated cylinder is warmed up to the point of boiling, at which time it creates enough pressure to drive the multi-cylinder Dearman engine. Once the bus reaches 20 mph, the diesel engine will kick in. It is at this speed that the bus requires less effort from the engine to operate.

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Completed at Horiba Mira’s engineering facilities and Proving Ground in Nuneaton, UK, recently, the trials included components and full system testing along with an engineered drive cycle to simulate a standard bus route with a variety of stops. Expressed Martin Watkinson, Technical Lead on the project at Horiba Mira, “The hybrid nature of CE Power demanded a sleek systems integration process. Our engineers worked to ensure the liquid nitrogen system operated seamlessly and safely with the diesel engine, in addition to carrying out the whole vehicle thermodynamics modelling and the overall vehicle control and testing.” “The completion of trials paves the way for the use of liquid nitrogen more widely in the automotive sector, and takes the UK one step closer to stamping out harmful emissions for good,” he averred.

The Dearman engine at Dearman in Croydon. 20th July 2015.

The Dearman engine at Dearman in Croydon. 20th July 2015.

The benefits of using liquid nitrogen over an electric hybrid bus include a much longer life, local production and easy refuelling. Batteries, which power many of the UK’s electric hybrids, require changing several times over the course of a bus’ lifetime, whereas the liquid nitrogen system will last the lifetime of the bus. Liquid nitrogen can be produced locally without the need for neodymium or lithium, which are both used by motors and batteries, and sourced from overseas. Refuelling liquid nitrogen can take a matter of minutes, and enables the bus to return to the road in a short timeframe. Mentioned David Sanders, Commercial Director at Dearman, “As the UK wrestles with dangerous levels of urban air pollution, a bus that runs on ‘thin air’ represents a significant breakthrough. The Dearman Engine has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of both buses and HGVs, reducing fuel consumption and cutting pollution. Crucially it can provide a cost effective alternative to other emerging zero emission technologies, whose environmental performance if often offset by complexity and cost. This successful trial could be the first step towards rolling out a British innovation to the streets of the UK and around the world.”

Automatic braking as standard

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Volkswagen has made autonomous emergency braking systems standard on its Caddy, Transporter and Crafter vans.

Team CV

With the potential to reduce the number and severity of accidents, Volkswagen has made autonomous braking systems standard on its Caddy, Transporter and Crafter vans. Proven to have cut third party injury insurance claims by 45 per cent, autonomous emergency braking for van drivers and fleet operators means lower costs, and less downtime, courtesy fewer crashes. Using radar, which is built into the front end of the van, the system, named Volkswagen ‘Front Assist’, recognises critical distances to the vehicle in front. To ensure safe stopping in dangerous situations, the system first warns the driver with audible and visual signals of a vehicle in front, driving slowly or suddenly braking, and of an associated risk of collision. It simultaneously prepares the van for emergency braking by applying the brake pads and alerting the brake assistant. If the driver fails to react to the warning, a one-off short jolt of the brake in the second stage indicates the looming danger of a collision. The brake assistant’s responsiveness is further increased, and if the driver steps on the brakes, full braking power is made available immediately. If the driver does not brake strongly enough, the ‘Front Assist’ increases the braking pressure to the required level, so that the vehicle comes to a stop before reaching the obstacle.

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Front Asist’ also includes the City Emergency Braking function. This function provides assistance at speeds below 18 mph. If a driver fails to see or react to an obstacle, the system automatically applies the brakes and ensures that the speed of any collision is reduced. It even prevents the vehicle from running into the obstacle. Looked upon as the most significant development in vehicle safety since the seat belt, autonomous emergency braking systems are said to have the potential to save more than 1,000 lives and 120,000 casualties over the next 10 years. Said Sarah Cox, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, the move aligns with the company’s endeavour to produce safe and reliable vans. “Technology is advancing, and we are continually seeing more and better ways to keep drivers safe on the road,” she mentioned. Peter Shaw, Chief Executive at Thatcham Research, said, “Volkswagen are the first manufacturer to fit AEB as standard on all its vans in the UK. With a year on year rise in deaths and serious injuries involving vans, this technology can help to avoid such happenings.” He drew attention to a 2015 study by Euro NCAP and Australasian NCAP, which showed autonomous braking leads to a 38 per cent reduction in real-world rear-end crashes.

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Efficient off-peak deliveries

Scania P 340 4x2 box body, CNG. Stockholm, Sweden Photo: Kjell Olausson 2015

Off-peak deliveries trial at Stockholm using ‘silent’ trucks resulted in a significant uptake in efficiency.

Team CV

A trial at Stockholm, Sweden, brought to the fore two distinct benefits of off-peak deliveries _ operational efficiency and environmental benefits. In many European cities, including Stockholm and London, deliveries are prohibited at night to reduce the noise impact in residential areas. For the off-peak, or out-of-hours deliveries trial, carried out by Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, two trucks were adapted for the tasks such that they were given nocturnal exemptions. Both the trucks that participated in the trial were fitted with noise-reduction equipment, such as silent roll cages, and noise sensor technology. Volvo supplied a diesel-electric hybrid FE truck, fitted with a device that enabled it to automatically switch from diesel power to electric power when entering a restricted urban zone, keeping noise and emissions to a minimum. The ‘silent’ truck was used by supermarket chain Lidl to deliver to three city centre stores between 22:00 and 06:00 hrs. It was observed that the Volvo FE hybrid ‘silent’ truck was able to complete three drops, significantly elevating efficiency.

Off-Peak i Stockholms innerstad med El-hybrid. Lars Åke Olsson kör Volvos El-hybrid, nattetid. Sergelstorg Foto : Rickard Kilström 2014-09-04

Before the ‘silent’ truck came around, Lidl operated at peak morning times. It needed three conventional trucks to serve its city centre stores. Off-peak deliveries carried out by one ‘silent’ truck ensured that there was no need for two other trucks to operate. The two other trucks could be simply removed from the road, elevating efficiency. In addition, the ‘silent’ truck was also able to travel over 30 per cent faster than the trucks that operated during the rush hour. Said Anna Pernestål Brenden, a researcher at KTH’s Integrated Transport Research Laboratory, that morning commuters are spared having to share the road with three heavy duty trucks. With one truck doing the work of three, there is a big jump in efficiency. The second truck used for the trial was a biogas-fuelled Scania R480. It was used to transport fresh goods to a number of city centre hotels and restaurants for temperature-controlled distributor Martin and Servera. The truck’s driving speed was 59 per cent higher than in the afternoon peak. Off-peak deliveries meant routes could be planned more efficiently and did not have to factor in congestion.

With one of the main reasons of conducting the trial being the effect of the noise of the vehicle on residents during off-peak hours, the trial had the drivers follow special rules to ensure the quietest of night-time deliveries. The trucks would not have a reversing alarm, and there would be no talking on the mobile phone outside the vehicles. It was observed that trucks unloading within city centre environments were not noticeable to residents. Only those in one quieter, outer suburb experienced minimal noise disruption. Averred Brenden, that the noise people complained about was of unloading the truck, and not of driving it.

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Electric buses profit from new charging methods

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New charging methods including opportunity charging strategies are making electric buses attractive.

Team CV

Electric buses are still in their infancy. They are however inevitable. Supported by technology, they are progressing at a serious rate. Even the technology to charge bus batteries is changing. Operators are coming to have more than one method to charge their vehicles. The new methods do away with ‘overnight charging’, which has traditionally been the technique. The traditional ‘plugged in’ charging method is known to require several hours of charging to hit the road with a fully charged battery. Something that is difficult to repeat each day. An alternative method of opportunity charging – a rapid and intense blast of power at strategic points along the route is turning out to be promising. It is also showing the potential to have a longer range as well.

At Auto Expo 2016, JBM Solaris displayed a 9 m electric bus called the Ecolife. The bus flaunted a pantograph apart from the option of plug-in charging system. Equipped with fast charging Lithium batteries, the bus, according to Dr. Andreas Strecker, CEO, Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., is capable of running 150-200 kms in 10 to 15 hours of city bus operation. The pantograph rapid charging technology, said Strecker, was developed in association with ABB. Working such that the pantograph ‘plugs-in’ at every stop the bus takes, the technology, according to Daan Nap, Global Sales Director for electric bus charging, at ABB, there is much difference between the traditional method of charging and what his company is offering. “On an average [a bus] might drive 100 or 200 miles a day, so you take a very big battery, charge the bus overnight, drive around all day, and at night, you charge it again. Such overnight charging means quite big batteries of 200 or 300kWh for example, and a charging process that happens at probably 50kW or 80kW over four, five or six hours.” “Bigger batteries add to the weight of the bus, and compromise its efficiency, said Daan. He averred, “People say that the battery is big and heavy. It takes up a lot of space, and has an effect on passenger carrying capacity as well as the travel range.”

In case of the traditional method of charging, weight and range turn out to be a limiting factor for bus application. The pantograph method provides a good opportunity for an operator who is looking at covering 300 to 400 miles a day. Mentioned Nap, “The vehicle (in case of opportunity charging) is the same, and employs a smaller battery since there’s a charging system at the end point of each route. That’s at the point where, normally, the bus is empty, and the passengers have got out. Also, there’s a break of five or 10 minutes.” “The charging is done at higher power – at a level of around 300 or 450kW. The batteries on the bus charge quickly. In a span of three to six minutes. The bus can run the route again – one, two, three or four times. By doing so, the size of the battery can be reduced, and also the weight and cost. The bus can carry more passengers,” Nap explained. Interestingly, opportunity charged buses typically lend themselves to longer routes that are out of the reach of overnight charge vehicles. According to Adrian Felton, City Mobility Manager, Volvo Buses, electric hybrid opportunity charge buses make sense on routes that involve a mixture of inner and outer city driving. “Say the route is 20-30 km long; electric hybrid opportunity charge buses are ideally suited,” he adds. There’s an efficient hybrid vehicle running for 20 km. It could be zone-managed so that the two km of initial running is done in pure electric mode. The other five km could be used by the bus in the city centre, improving the quality of air.

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A big advantage of opportunity charging is the ability to geo-fence or zone-manage. It is possible to set up a vehicle, and to agree upon specific areas of operation with the operators or authorities. Fully automatic, this is perhaps one of the first stages that will aid the move up to autonomous operations. Zone management is done through GPS. There are three types of zones, and the vehicle can operate with zero emissions. It can also be set to operate in a silent mode by shutting down some of the ancillaries like AC. Even safety zones in a specific area can be drawn to reduce the vehicle’s speed. Opportunity charging, interestingly, suits short-cycle, repetitive routes. The best use case for opportunity charging, according to Matt Horton, Chief Commercial Officer, Proterra, is under situations like airports where the buses follow the same route for hours. These are usually short routes, he stated. For en-route charging, dense urban areas, downtown or airport-style circulator routes tend to be make a lot of sense. Volvo’s opportunity charging system for example uses an overhead mast to power up the bus from the top down. The vehicle pulls over under the mast, and there is a marker on the roadside. There is quite a lot of leeway in the rails and the charging mast so that it doesn’t have to be within millimetres. The vehicle locates the mast, and positions itself. The driver applies the handbrake. A message on the dash lights up, saying ‘ready to charge’. The charger comes down, and tops up the battery. Once complete, the indication says ‘fully charged’. The driver releases the parking brake, and the charger disconnects automatically. Until the pantograph has fully retracted, the vehicle does not move away.

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In case of longer downtime, the amount of charging infrastructure can be cut down. This is especially true for routes that have evolved over a longer period of down time. With the use of opportunity charging, if there’s an opportunity to park and ride, and the layover time is between five and seven minutes, one piece of charging infrastructure on a longer route may suffice. About seven minutes of layover time means a vehicle can travel to the city centre and back without the need of any infrastructure. For a network spread over a good distance, the need will be to place strategic infrastructure at bus interchanges. Technology is continuing to evolve. Opportunity charging is looking promising, and could provide a promising alternative to overnight charging. The need of the time is to make en-route charging technology and infrastructure cost effective. There is a need for it to be competitive in comparison to the traditional methods of charging. Chargers used in traditional, overnight, charging technologies are rapidly dropping down in prices. Battery prices too have dropped almost 75 per cent in the last four-to-five years. Much transformation is on.

2016 10 12 Volvo Arendal Invigning av ABB laddstation för bussar. Samarbete med Volvo. Foto: Anna Rehnberg

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Invigning av ABB laddstation för bussar. Samarbete med Volvo.
Foto: Anna Rehnberg

Delivery van concept to meet urban challenges

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Ford has developed a delivery van concept that uses drones to deliver over the last 15 m, or from the kerb to the door.

Story by:

Team CV

To cut down on traffic congestion, and the resulting loss in productivity in an urban environment, Ford has come up with a concept that combines delivery vans and drones to develop a vision of the future for last mile deliveries. Vans, for more than half a century, have played a key role in deliveries. Drones, at the other end, are a modern phenomenon. The two could however work hand-in-hand to improve mobility in urban areas. Ford’s concept as part of the company’s vision for the ‘City of Tomorrow’ hopes to achieve exactly that. The Autolivery concept, developed by a team of Ford employees for the company’s Last Mile Delivery Challenge, envisages electric self-driving vans used together with drones to pick up and drop off goods and packages in urban areas. The concept was revealed through virtual reality headsets at the recently held Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry in Barcelona, as part of Ford’s vision of the ‘City of Tomorrow’. The concept showed dinner party preparations, with a missing ingredient quickly ordered and delivered in time to add to the recipe.

According to Ken Washington, Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company, the concept reflects upon a culture of disruption and innovation. The two elements were designed to arrive at solutions that put people ahead. Their time is saved, and they can find the cities better to live in. Also, it would make it easier to navigate. The Autolivery idea, one of the many submitted by Ford employees to tackle the last mile challenge, paid particular attention to the last 15 meters of delivery distance. It is this distance that is widely considered to be the most challenging when it comes to goods delivery. In their effort to automate the process over this distance, it is turning out to be the most challenging. Many companies continue to work on how to solve the complexity of delivering packages over the last 15 metres, or from the kerb to the door. The pressure to solve this challenge is expected to increase globally in coming years with a rise in local deliveries due to rising online sales.

Stating that the scene the concept depicts is not possible yet, Washingtion said, “Autolivery suggests the direction in which mobility research is heading, and how it could enrich the lives of people in a more sustainable way.” Shanghai-based Ford designers Euishik Bang, James Kuo and Chelsia Lau designed the Autolivery concept. According to Bang, it is all about making life in the city easier. The possibility of harnessing autonomous and electric vehicle technology with drones, to quickly and easily send and deliver parcels, could indeed help life become easier to everyone, he mentioned.

Anti-runaway brakes from Renault

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Anti-runaway automated parking brakes aim at eliminating the risk of uncontrolled vehicle movement.

Story by:

Team CV

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.

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Application scenarios

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.”

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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.