Camera-based system for trucks eliminates blind spot

December 11, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
One of the most frequent accident patterns with trucks and buses is a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist when the vehicle performs a turn. Mirror arrays as mandated by EU legislation so far failed to reduce the number of accidents of which many are lethal. Now Spanish automotive tier one Ficosa rolls out a camera-based system that promises to resolve the problem.

The Ficosa system uses three cameras which are attached to the front side and the front corners of the vehicle. Their signal is forwarded to a control computer which runs the object detection software iCare. The software generates images displayed on a monitor installed at the dashboard. If a collision risk occurs, the system issues a warning signal, typically an alerting sound. According to Ficosa, iCare does not only identify objects such as pedestrians or bicyclists but also lane markings or light sources.

Traffics safety is the most highlighted application for the camera system but it is not the only one. The system can also be utilized as an intelligent back-up assistant or a lane departure warning assistant. It easily can be adopted to the needs of the respective client, the company said. Targeting truck OEMs and bus manufacturers, the system is intended to be designed into the vehicles. For this reason, it can be enhanced by many additional functions according to client specifications. It is even possible to connect the signal directly to the steering system.

More a side effect albeit a positive one is the fact that the system also reduces the aerodynamic drag of the vehicle: Without the rear view mirrors, the truck or bus does generate less drag. Fuel savings of 1.4 to 2 percent could be achieved, the company said.

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