There’s no question that trucks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and being equipped with much higher safety levels, futuristic truck technology is becoming the norm and the pace of change is a rapid one, particularly in European vehicles.
As the medium duty sales leader in Europe, Iveco recently set some new safety parameters locally in the medium duty segment when it launched a myriad of new active and passive safety features as part of its Australian Euro 6 Eurocargo release.
All new Eurocargo variants feature a long list of safety acronyms including: ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ASR (Anti-slip Regulator), AEBS (Advanced Emergency Braking System), ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) and LDW (Lane Departure Warning).
Some of this technologies are more familiar others, so let’s take a look at three of the more recent innovations, AEBS, ACC and LDW.
At its simplest, AEBS helps to avoid accidents caused by driver distraction.
Using a radar integrated into the front of the truck, the system measures the distance to the vehicle in front and calculates the time remaining to take action before a potential collision; an audible double warning is triggered before the brakes are applied.
In the event of a moving obstacle, the system intervenes automatically reducing speed to 32 kph to avoid impact. If the obstacle is stationary, the system can moderate or possibly prevent the impact by further reducing speed to 10 kph.
ACC uses the AEBS radar and then adjusts the truck’s speed by maintaining safe distance to the vehicle in front. The feature has a range of up to 120 metres and automatically intervenes in various stages, firstly by reducing torque, then by applying the engine brake and finally, the service brake.
Other new driver assistance technology includes the LDW system that warns the driver if the vehicle they’re driving is moving from its lane.
Thanks to a windscreen-mounted camera, the system can recognise the road markings and will sound an alarm if the vehicle changes lane without the driver signalling.
An improvement in medium and heavy vehicle safety is logical progression as the safety advancements made in recent years in European light commercial vehicles is leading buyers to question why many of these features have not been available in these heavier market segments.
These changing attitudes combined with increasingly stringent OH&S requirements particularly among the larger fleets are two catalysts for the development of safer trucks such as the latest Eurocargo.
The safety equipment found in these trucks is comparable and in some cases exceed levels found in high end European passenger cars, and that can only be a good thing for all road users.