Volvo launches collision avoidance system
May 1, 2009 12:00 PM
New From Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) is the Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC), an advanced collision avoidance system that works with a truck's cruise control to maintain a safe following distance between vehicles.
It has the capability to automatically slow the truck with the engine and foundation brakes to maintain a set following distance, while at the same time alerting the driver to potential danger.
Volvo Trucks and technology partner Bendix developed VEC to provide warnings and assistance in interactions with vehicles in front of and to the side of Volvo trucks. Using a radar sensor typically mounted behind the front bumper, VEC monitors vehicles moving in the same direction as the truck.
It can detect up to 32 objects within approximately 500 feet in front of the truck.
“VEC combines adaptive cruise control with proactive braking to help drivers avoid collisions,” said Frank Bio, VTNA product manager-trucks. “Volvo Enhanced Cruise does more than give timely warnings to drivers. It also takes action and gives the driver, and the other highway users, more of a safety advantage.”
Proactive braking means the truck will slow down without driver intervention when necessary. If the vehicle in front slows down below the truck's cruise-control-set speed, VEC will sequentially reduce throttle to the engine, apply the engine brake, and apply the foundation brakes to try to maintain the set following distance.
The system applies about one-third of the foundation brakes' capacity, meaning the driver always has full braking capability if needed.
VEC also warns drivers if the truck is too close to vehicles ahead. A beeping alert warns drivers if they are closing the distance. An uninterrupted modulating tone warns drivers to immediately apply the brakes or take evasive action if the distance is too short and closing speed is too high for VEC to maintain safe following distance — for example, when another vehicle cuts in front of the truck or slows too sharply.
The “Following Distance Alerts” and “Close Cut-In Alert” are always on, even if the cruise control is turned off. The “Impact Alert” is activated only when cruise control is on.
A visual indicator on the truck's instrument panel shows drivers the speed of the vehicle ahead and how quickly the truck is closing the gap. The indicator is a series of LEDs outlining the speedometer, as well as a red or green light for the “target” vehicle.
The system's default following distance is 2.8 seconds between vehicles, or almost 250 feet when travelling at 60 mph. Drivers may change the following distance setting with a distance switch, available as a factory-installed option.
Another option is a side warning system, which alerts drivers to vehicles in the right-side blind spot when changing lanes.
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