Big rigs inadvertently drifting into another lane could become less of a hazard on roadways as Daimler Trucks North America and supplier Robert Bosch roll out a new driver-assist feature for trucks.
In what the companies say is a first for the commercial vehicle market, Bosch and Daimler partnered to produce a Level 2 lane-centering system for Freightliner New Cascadia trucks. It utilizes a Bosch steering system and multipurpose camera and an algorithm developed by Daimler, said Kevin Chronicle, a Bosch sales and marketing executive.
"We saw that there was an opportunity to make drivers' lives not only more comfortable but also reduce accidents in the field by implementing technology such as this," Chronicle said.
The technology, which received a 2021 Automotive News PACE Award, underscores how advanced driver-assistance systems are increasingly moving into the commercial vehicle space. Chronicle said technological innovations often are first seen in passenger vehicles, which are much higher volume, before migrating their way into big rigs.
Active Lane Assist, as Bosch and Daimler call it, uses a second- generation Bosch multipurpose camera and the supplier's Servo-twin electrohydraulic steering system. The camera makes use of a lane-detection algorithm that allows the steering system to keep the truck in the center of the lane, according to Bosch.
"It's less fatiguing in the end of the day for the driver," Chronicle said.
The technology has the potential to be adopted on a large scale, he said. Chronicle said Bosch is meeting with fleet companies and manufacturers to give "educational sessions" about its potential in commercial vehicles. It is also meeting with drivers to learn what their concerns are about such systems as well as what they like about them.
"It's important that we educate not only the fleets but the drivers themselves and make sure they understand what the system is capable of and how it can benefit them," he said.
In particular, the supplier said it is pitching drivers and fleets on the safety and cost benefits of using advanced driver-assistance systems on their trucks. Chronicle pointed to a study the supplier released in March that estimated that injuries from Class 7 and Class 8 truck crashes could fall by up to 23 percent if the trucks were equipped with lane-keeping and lane-change assist systems. Deaths could fall by up to 19 percent, according to the study, which drew on public crash data.