When Will These Safe Trucks Hit Texas Roadways?
Five people died and 12 people were injured in Fort Worth a week ago when a tractor-trailer slammed into a group of good Samaritans assisting the victim of an earlier crash. Skid marks indicated that the truck driver attempted to stop, but was unable to do so in time to avoid the semi collision.
This tragic scenario occurs commonly on Texas roadways. A driver falls asleep, becomes distracted or is confronted with an unexpected obstacle and and drivers and occupants of other vehicles don’t stand a chance. But what if instead of relying on the driver to act, the truck itself could identify the danger and respond quickly?
The Collision Warning/Early Braking system being developed by Volvo Trucks Global makes this possible. The system allows a truck to sense an obstacle and to respond appropriately. The truck brakes on a dime without skidding or making the sorts of erratic moves that a human might make during an emergency. The truck is programed to react correctly, taking human error out of the equation.
How Collision Warning/Early Braking System Works
Several automakers and tech companies are developing self-driving cars. Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, among others, are applying the technology to heavy trucks. So how does this amazing system work? According to Wired magazine, the hardware for building a self-driving automobile is relatively cheap. The basic components include:
- Central computer: applies information gathered from sensors to control accelerator, steering and brakes
- GPS: provides accurate positioning
- Odometry sensors: work in conjunction with the GPS to pinpoint positioning
- Ultrasonic sensors: identify objects that are close to the vehicle
- Front-end radar sensors: monitor conditions ahead of the vehicle
- Video camera: monitors everything surrounding the vehicle, including the road, traffic signals, cars and pedestrians
- Lidar: senses light and ranging to monitor vehicular surroundings
Installing the self-driving features in an auto is estimated to add about $5,500 to the price. The most advanced system with complete autonomy that requires no human input is only an extra $10,000. What a small price to pay for vehicle safety. And this cost will presumably decrease during the next decade as other companies get into the business.
How Automation of Big-Rigs Will Protect the Public
A tractor-trailer takes longer to stop than a car. And when a larger, heavier vehicle hits a smaller, lighter car, severe and fatal injuries are inevitable. A car travelling at 65 mph takes 316 feet to stop, whereas a tractor-trailer takes 525 feet to stop. The automated system reduces reaction time and coordinates the brakes, steering and acceleration to stop the truck.
Unfortunately, these trucks are not on the road yet, but this incredible technology will one-day make tractor-trailers much safer.
Bill Berenson has 35 years of experience with complex tractor-trailer accident cases. If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a commercial vehicle collision, we can get you the compensation you deserve. Call our Dallas-Fort Worth office for a free consultation at 1-801-8585 or 817-885-8000 or contact us online here.