see. think. act.



See The Danger Despite Blind Spots

Min Reading Time
Tags: Safety, AutonomousDriving, ZeroAccidents
ZF develops driver assistance systems that could help to prevent collisions between trucks that are turning and cyclists or pedestrians. Blind spots are the number one cause of these kinds of accidents and ZF has declared war on them.
Martin Westerhoff, September 13, 2018
Martin Westerhoff studied technology journalism and writes about vehicles and technologies since then. He has a soft spot for motorsports and racing cars.
Accidents caused by blind spots are almost all identical: A truck driver does not see a cyclist located directly in the truck’s blind spot, so it makes the turn. The cyclist first collides with the tractor unit, then the road and, in the worst case scenario, is run over by the heavy truck. The question of who is legally at fault is often a moot point and no longer helpful for the parties concerned. In the past year, there were 76 fatalities and over 3,000 injuries in Germany alone according to the German Statistics Office.

Blind sports are a major hazard in heavy goods vehicles.

A truck driver has to check a total of six mirrors in a sequence before making a turn. And in those fractions of a second, a pedestrian or cyclist might appear that wasn’t there before. “Truck blind spots are a major factor in deadly collisions with cyclists and pedestrians,” finds the “Transport for London” expert group. That is why Sadiq Kha, the mayor of the British capital, has initiated the first definitive legislation to avoid collisions of this kind in the future. Effective October 26, 2020 , the new legislation stipulates that if a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) weighs more than twelve tons, it may no longer be driven in greater London unless the driver can produce an HGV safety permit. The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is a major component of the proposed HGV safety permit and assesses how good the direct vision from the driver’s cab is, particularly on the side where the turn is being made.
When making a turn, drivers of conventional trucks must watch the road using

This legislation comes in response to an alarming statistic in London: In 2016, a total of 23 percent of all fatal accidents involving pedestrians and 50 percent of those with cyclists were the result of a collision with a heavy goods vehicle – even though trucks over twelve tons only make up 4 percent of the road miles traveled in London. As part of the legislation, driver assistant systems could make heavy goods vehicles considerably safer. The safety permit initiated by Mayor Kha should therefore also allow those trucks to drive in the city that are equipped with camera or sensor systems warning drivers acoustically prior to turning, for example, that a road user is located to the side of the vehicle.

ZF develops advanced assistant systems and offers such technological solutions

ZF develops advanced assistant systems and offers such technological solutions

In the near future, the company will be adding a turn assist system to its portfolio. “Our system is based on two radar sensors that are mounted on the lower right side of a truck. This configuration ensures optimal all-round coverage of the potential collision area, even in confusing scenarios or where poor visibility is a factor,” explains Martin Mayer, who is responsible at ZF for the worldwide sales of driver assistant systems for commercial vehicles. The turn assist system primarily supports the driver if objects come close to entering the danger zone of the vehicle or if the previously still-standing road user (cyclist or pedestrian) suddenly begins to move. Because it is precisely when turning that most collisions with cyclists occur. In such scenarios, the system issues visual, acoustic or haptic warnings, depending on need.

With know-how and technology that enable vehicles to see, think and act, ZF is taking it a step further. “To prevent collisions even more effectively when making turns, ZF is developing the turn assist system to be an active system.” explains Mayer. The Side Vision Assist will not only warn drivers, but also intervene if necessary – like emergency braking or an evasive maneuver. The system has not only radar sensors, but also cameras and thus monitors everything that is happening around the truck. This is a decisive advantage for the driver who receives the information which is transparently displayed on a screen.
“Truck blind spots are a major factor in fatal collisions with cyclists and pedestrians.”
“Transport for London” expert group

ZF Side Vision Assist as the next step toward autonomous trucks

ZF Side Vision Assist as the next step toward autonomous trucks

The active system from ZF can thus contribute toward greater safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Furthermore, the Side Vision Assist is an important prerequisite for autonomous trucks. Through ZF's open system approach, the control unit can be directly connected to the truck’s actuators. If the driver does not heed the warning, the system can independently brake the vehicle, bring it to a full stop or maneuver around the obstacle. ZF’s Side Vision Assist brings us one step closer to “Vision Zero” – zero-accident and zero-emission mobility.

In brief When a turning truck collides with a cyclist or pedestrian, it is frequently the fault of the blind spot – any area that the mirror on the driver’s cab cannot reflect. To prevent such severe accidents, London wants to introduce a driving ban for heavy goods vehicles over twelve tons that have poor visibility on the side. The ban will take effect starting in 2020. One exception will be trucks equipped with driver assistant systems that detect objects using sensors or cameras and warn the driver of obstacles when making turns. ZF will soon add not only a turn assist system to its portfolio, but will take it a step further with its Side Vision Assist. Aided by artificial intelligence, this function will detect other road users and, if necessary, intervene in the driving action.