When the first results of the pan-European euroFOT field study are presented in Brussels on June 26, the conclusion is clear: Volvo Trucks’ active safety systems help drivers avoid accidents.
The euroFOT (FOT = Field Operation Test) project has been under way for almost four years. It encompasses a total of 28 partners who, on behalf of the EU, have studied systems designed to help drivers of cars and trucks detect risks, prevent accidents and make driving more efficient.
Volvo Trucks participated in the study as part of a Swedish team together with Volvo Car Corporation and the Chalmers University of Technology.
"In our part of the project we studied 30 trucks operating with two haulage firms, DHL Tradeteam in Britain and Nijhof Wassink in the Netherlands. We examined the effectiveness of three systems: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Keeping Support," says Karsten Heinig, manager of the project at Volvo Trucks.
15 percent risk reduction
For Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW), which are used together to maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front and thus avoid rear-end collisions, the study reveals that the number of rear-end impacts on motorways can be cut by up to 15 percent for trucks equipped with the system. The study also shows that there is considerable potential for increasing that figure.
"On average, the system is used less than half of the driving time. If usage increases, this will bring about a further reduction in accidents. We have our work cut out for us here - coaching and training drivers," explains Karsten Heinig, and continues:
"There is also some technical scope for us to make the system more user-friendly."
As regards Lane Keeping Support (LKS), the statistical basis is too small to be able to draw any reliable conclusions on accident avoidance. Having said that, it has been proven that the system does help drivers maintain a steadier course on the road.
ACC, FCW and LKS have not shown any negative effects on driver behaviour.
"We are sometimes asked if we aren't worried that these systems might disturb drivers or cause them to lose their focus behind the wheel. But data analysis in euroFOT has shown no such effect," says Karsten Heinig.
In the study, each truck was equipped with five video cameras:
- One facing ahead, filming the driver's view in the direction of travel
- One that covers the driver's blind spot on the passenger side
- One that films the driver's right foot
- One attached to the A-pillar that films driver behaviour
- One directed at the driver's face, registering the driver's eye movements.
Together with all available data from the truck's onboard electronic control units (ECU) including parameters such as current speed, this filmed footage provides entirely unique material totalling about 70 TB of data. Four million kilometres of truck traffic is now ready for analysis, and another four million kilometres can be obtained from the system - data also being made available to the academic world thanks to partnership with Chalmers.
"This is material that will serve as a rich source as we now step up the pace of development for safer traffic," says Karsten Heinig.
Facts about euroFOT
The euroFOT project is financed by the EU and encompasses 28 organisations such as vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, research institutes and universities. More than 1000 cars and trucks were involved in the study.
In the Swedish part of the project, Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Trucks and the Chalmers University of Technology worked together to develop suitable methods for conducting the study and for analysing the collected data.
June 26, 2012
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