LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bendix unveiled what it’s calling a groundbreaking combination of safety technologies today at the Mid-America Trucking Show here, the Wingman Fusion, which uses camera, radar, lane departure warning, braking and collision mitigation to keep drivers out of harm’s way.
This smart system, in which safety components talk with each other, can help alert the driver ahead of time to situations for example where a truck crests a hill and the driver looks down at “exactly the wrong moment,” coming suddenly upon stopped traffic. It would alert him or her to the fact that there’s a stopped stationary object in the truck’s path and if necessary, the engine would de-throttle, either mitigating the severity of the accident or preventing it altogether.
Fusion integrates technology from Bendix components and systems, including the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability system, Bendix Wingman Advanced – its collision mitigation technology — and AutoVue lane departure warning system from Bendix CVS.
It gathers input through radar, video and the vehicle’s brakes, “creating a highly detailed and accurate data picture that’s achievable through its deep, multi-system integration,” spokesmen stated. The devices can read roadside speed signs and tell if the driver is doing the same speed or “overspeeding,” in which case he or she will be warned and if over the limit by a certain amount (set by the carrier), alert the back office.
The engine will also de-throttle in such cases to return the truck to the legal speed limit. Asked if in this may exacerbate the driver shortage with drivers fearing “Big Brother,” Bendix officials said they hope drivers will be glad to have the technology because it saves lives —and — keeps carriers from getting dinged on their CSA scores.
In response to questions from the media, officials admitted that this system is a step toward autonomously operated vehicles in the future but declined to give a timeline.
Asked if they’re worried about Daimler Trucks’ recent announcement of its own proprietary safety systems, Bendix Chairman, President and CEO Joe McAleese said Daimler and Volvo were deploying similar technology in Europe but neither had brought it to North America, yet. McAleese said Bendix never had shied away from competition and that he was convinced Bendix would have the best system.
The Wingman Fusion is available now but Navistar is the only OEM that is putting the system on its vehicles, yet , in this case, the ProStar. McAleese said when fleets participate in Fusion demonstrations they are interested in getting the technology, with other spokesmen adding that right now Fusion has “revolutionary features exclusive to the North American commercial vehicle market.”
McAleese said Fusion is not just separate safety technologies, but an intelligent integrated system that uses “overall situational awareness” to determine what to do. It can decide, for example, which is the most important course of action in the case of several alerts. If there’s a lane departure warning and a stopped vehicle in front of the truck, it chooses the stopped object, warning the driver and de-throttling the engine if necessary.
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