Volvo's Automatic Braking System for Semi-Trucks

Truck Accident Lawyer Michigan

Volvo Trucks Global is taking a step into the future with its new automatic braking system. The company has created a Collision Warning/Early Braking system for its trucks. This development, as detailed in Business Insider, is designed for trucks to brake automatically if they get too close to other vehicles in front of them. A sensor on the front “sees” the road ahead, and brakes the truck on its own, if it gets too close to the car in front of it. 
 
When braking, an alarm sounds and a display light activates on the dashboard, anticipating the truck’s sudden stop. The truck’s back taillights flash like hazards when the automatic braking system is in use, alerting drivers behind the truck, so that drivers behind can avoid a rear end car crash. All this for a truck carrying 40 tons of cargo!   

The primary goal of Volvo working to make automated features for semi-trucks is to increase auto safety. Hayder Wokil, Autonomous and Automated Driving Director for Volvo Trucks, said, “We are focused on solutions that can make difficult, repetitive and time-consuming tasks easier for all concerned.” The latest technological improvement will affect other drivers on the road, beyond just the truck drivers. In 2015, almost 64% of fatal crashes involving large trucks also involved two other vehicles, as found in an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In other words, other drivers are at risk of injury or death from a semi-truck accident. Developments like automated truck brakes may improve the safety of truck crashes for all drivers. 
 
Worldwide, companies like Volvo are using trucks to minimize harvest damage that human-operated trucks create, utilizing automatic garbage trucks, and enlisting self-driving delivery trucks to bring packages to people’s doorsteps. With so many possibilities for advancement, the automated truck industry will likely see rapid growth in the coming years. It will be exciting to watch consumer fears grow into fascination, as more and more automotive companies focus on turning even the biggest trucks on the road into a safer form of transportation in the near future. 

Michigan Truck Accident Attorney

Volvo's automatic braking system for semi-trucks will make stopping suddenly much easier for truck drivers, helping drivers behind them avoid rear end car accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our skilled attorneys can tell you if you are eligible for any compensation under Michigan law. 

Daimler's Autonomous Future Truck

Visitors to The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may have been keeping up with news on autonomous technology from companies like Ford, Toyota, and Google. A company that we haven't yet mentioned however, is Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Daimler is also a member of the autonomous car industry and was one of the first to begin the automated transportation revolution with its development of self-driving trucks. The world of semi-trucks was transformed with the creation of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck. The truck's design includes automated driving capabilities that will allow drivers to operate the heavy, cargo-bearing vehicle much more easily, efficiently, and comfortably. Diamler-created autonomous technology, called Highway Pilot, has set the Future Truck apart from competitors, allowing it to be the safest semi-truck of its kind. Daimler had previously planned to release the Future Truck in 2025, giving driver-less car onlookers a not-so-far away glimpse into what roads may look like in the near future.
 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Mercedes-Benz Highway Pilot Autonomous Technology


The Future Truck uses Highway Pilot software to autonomously control driving. Daimler envisions a workplace similar to a living room for truckers, where they can relax as they control driving with an iPad. Highway Pilot uses sensors to observe areas in front of the vehicle and to take over control in certain situations, such as during sudden stops. Highway Pilot allows the humans to do all the thinking, without incurring any risk, and leaves the driving to the truck itself. 

Another characteristic of the Future Truck is vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Self-driving trucks will be able to pull over for emergency vehicles or slow down with traffic congestion, using data from the inter-vehicle signals. The trucks will be also be able to switch lanes and react to broken down vehicles on the shoulder, even steering and braking through construction zones with the help of its communication features. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Daimler has embraced the opportunity to transform the future of long-distance driving with the development of their Future Truck. Klaus Riff, Deputy Head of Prevention for G Verkehr–Transport Industry Professional Association, confirmed for Daimler that truck drivers face extreme demands everyday, due to factors like sustained attention, tight schedules, and high traffic density. Not only are individual drivers likely to benefit from automated technology, but entire business models will be rearranged. Business Insider mentions how labor costs will be controlled differently and workloads will be streamlined, affecting businesses and consumers with these steps towards more advanced trucks. 

Daimler's Highway Pilot technology was officially tested in October 2015 with the Mercedes-Benz Actros truck, making it the world's first series-production truck to operate autonomously on a motorway. A top German politician, Winfried Kretschmann, and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Board Member of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks and Buses, rode on the maiden journey of the Mercedes-Benz Actros with the Highway Pilot system, further displaying Daimler's commitment to ease of driving and safety precautions.

Autonomous Truck Regulations

Automated trucks, just like autonomous cars, have not been developed without closely monitored regulations. Four states in the US currently allow the operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads under certain conditions. Those states are Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. Europe has been facing more strict restrictions. Vehicle safety tests in the EU have been designed for cars with someone behind the wheel, meaning the Future Truck and other driver-less cars like it, fail these tests. Politico reported last year that there were no plans to review this law, setting Europe back from the US and other countries where autonomous driving has been tested on roads. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Additionally, policies have regulated truck driver workweeks, working to help reduce motor vehicle fatalities that drowsy driving from a combination of lack of sleep and long hours on highway roads may cause. Semi-truck drivers carrying cargo may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty, and according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), may only drive 60/70 hours on duty in 7/ 8 consecutive days. With the release of the Future Truck, truck drivers will be able to rest more often and therefore go longer distances in faster times. Human error will be minimized since trucks will be driving themselves. 
 
Daimler’s automated semi-trucks will soon be approaching reality after years of planning, and the world will finally experience a new type of long-distance travel. Planes, trains, and automobiles are all slowly becoming autonomous, and the transportation industry is just on the brink of a revolution. Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have been a step ahead of the pack, and only have to look eight more years ahead to see The Future Truck front and center. 

Source: Daimler


The future of semi-trucks is looking autonomous and automated. In the present time however, while trucks are still being operated by humans, automobile drivers should take caution  when driving near trucks, as their size makes it harder for them to react quickly to vehicles around them. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck or other large vehicle, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.