LOS ANGELAS, Calif. — A new trailer attachment plate designed to prevent injuries and deaths has been developed by a California company.
Axicle says its sensor-loaded fifth-wheel plate is built to quickly jettison a tipping trailer, allowing the trailer to detach instead of causing the truck pulling it to roll over too.
As a tractor’s roll angle increases at a critical roll rate, the trailer is unrecoverable and must be decoupled to prevent damage to the tractor and injury or death of the driver, according to a statement from Axicle. The tractor and its occupants account for more than 75% of the total insured value of atractor-trailer. The company said the root cause of most rollovers is the trailers instead of the truck or the driver.
Axicle’s fifth wheel contains two independent latching mechanisms that secure a trailer to the tractor at an optimal distance. The company’s website says a series of built-in sensors monitor the roll angle and rate of the tractor every millisecond.
Axicle said this algorithm can detect the trailer’s threshold limits and whether a rollover event is unrecoverable with 99.99% accuracy, based on a “feed-forward physics-based control algorithm.”
After an imminent rollover is detected, the electronics initiate an actuator to decouple the trailer, allowing the tractor to safely evade danger.
This method can be executed without any increased risk to the public. Axicle said this is analogous to a launch-escape system for a spacecraft riding atop a lower rocket stage.
The clamping systems only release when their corresponding actuators are triggered during an unrecoverable rollover condition. From that point, gravity separates the trailer from the vehicle.
The Axicle TARS fifth wheel can either fully detach, or remain attached on one side. The company says that the fifth wheel will never prematurely jettison a trailer.
Axicle demonstrated the fifth wheel’s capability by having a Boeing 777 engine blast a truck and trailer with air. When the winds became insurmountable, the trailer detached, falling on its side.
The truck, though, remained upright.
The company says that preventing rollovers could prevent more than 9,000 injuries and deaths caused by the incidents. They said that $3.5 billion is paid each year by insurance due to rollover incidents.
Below is a video of the demonstration.
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