Blind Spot Monitoring: ZF Makes Trucks More Secure in Inner-City Traffic

  • Turn assist system monitors the complete vehicle side and can warn the driver
  • Further development to Side Vision Assist system: Data fusion, AI and interconnection allow for an intelligent and active system that helps prevent accidents while turning
  • Smart safety technology provides the foundation for automated trucks

Hanover/Friedrichshafen. At the IAA, ZF presents solutions that can help make trucks safer in inner-city traffic using a radar-based turn assist system to monitor the entire right vehicle side. The system tackles the challenge of blind spots presented by current mirror configurations. The driver is given a warning as soon as other road users approach the blind spot or collision zone. This will be further developed into the Side Vision Assist system, which will additionally incorporate camera images. Thanks to intelligent algorithms and interconnected sensors, this system can also actively engage the steering system and, if necessary, carry out emergency braking. This makes it an important building block for trucks with automated functions.

When trucks that are driving in inner cities are involved in accidents during turning, these can have severe consequences. Incidents can involve vulnerable individuals such as cyclists and pedestrians. In the past year, there were 76 fatalities and over 3000 injuries in Germany alone according to the German Statistics Office.

Fredrik Staedtler, head of Commercial Vehicle Technology Division, said: “Assistance systems can help to make trucks safer and help prevent accidents during turning. At IAA in Hanover this year, we’ll be giving an outlook on solutions in this area.”

In the near future, ZF will add a turn assist system to its portfolio. The system is based on two radar sensors, which are mounted on the lower right side of the truck. This can provide comprehensive coverage of the potential collision zone, even in unclear situations or poor visibility. The turn assist system is of particularly help to the driver when objects approach the truck’s hazard area or when stationary road users suddenly start moving – which can be the case when cyclists are involved in accidents during turning. In this event, the system gives out a visual, acoustic or haptic warning as necessary.

Further development towards an active system

To help prevent collisions during turning even more efficiently, ZF is developing its turn assist function into an active system. The Side Vision Assist system can not only warn drivers, but can also intervene and initiate emergency braking or avoidance maneuvers if necessary. To accomplish this, the Side Vision Assist system uses several cameras in addition to radar sensors to recognize movements and identify pedestrians and cyclists. By doing this, the system creates a comprehensive view around the truck arranged in one display, a decisive advantage for drivers, as they now receive important information which they previously would have gained only by using six separate exterior rear-view mirrors.

With this active system, ZF creates an important requirement for autonomous capable trucks: The algorithms developed by ZF support deep learning. This enables ZF ProAI to perceive the truck’s surroundings, evaluate the situation on the road in real time and react accordingly if necessary. This is made possible because ZF’s system approach enables the control unit to be connected directly to the truck’s actuators. If the driver does not respond to a warning, this allows the system to independently brake, come to a complete stop or navigate around obstacles.

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