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Volvo, the Swedish automaker long-known for its safety innovations, has taken to applying its passenger car safety systems to commercial semi trucks.

The new Volvo FH semi recently demonstrated a collision warning and emergency brake system. The system uses radar and a camera to detect vehicles in front of the truck and alert the driver of danger with a flashing light and alarm tone. If the driver does not respond to a potential rear-end situation, the system will apply the brakes to avoid a crash.

While the video below shows just how well the system can work, keep in mind that the tractor trailer is fully loaded with 40 tons of cargo.

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Volvo Trucks has developed Collision Warning with Emergency Brake – an advanced emergency braking system equipped with early collision warning to help prevent severe accidents caused by inattention.

Rear-end collisions account for a significant proportion of road accidents. In order to address this problem, Volvo Trucks has developed Collision Warning with Emergency Brake - an advanced emergency braking system which also includes early collision warning. The braking system, which is available on the new Volvo FH Series, has been developed to support the driver so that the majority of these rear-end collisions can be avoided or mitigated.

"We began by asking 'what really is the problem?'. The answer is inattention. If you watched the traffic ahead of you the whole time, you wouldn't need systems like these," says Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic & Product Safety Director, Volvo Trucks.

The new system combines a radar and a camera that work together to identify and monitor vehicles in front. The system is designed to deal with both stationary and moving vehicles and can prevent a collision with a moving target at relative speeds of up to 70 km/h. When the system detects a vehicle that the truck will hit at its current speed, the warning system activates a constant red light in the windscreen in order to bring the driver's attention back to the road.

"We don't want to take over from drivers because we believe they are in the best position to respond, as they might be able to safely drive around the vehicle," says Almqvist.

However, if the truck fails to detect any reaction from the driver, such as steering or braking, the system upgrades to a flashing red light and a beeping sound. If there is still no reaction, the system applies the brakes gently. When all this fails, the system activates the emergency braking system and does everything possible to bring the truck to a complete stop.

"In the vast majority of cases, the initial warning signals will attract the driver's attention. And in the rare case that they don't, the emergency braking system will still help prevent a serious accident," says Carl Johan Almqvist.

In Europe, emergency braking systems will be a legal requirement in new trucks by November 2015.

Animation of Collision Warning with Emergency Brake on YouTube
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2012 ZR1

That looks nice, but how about on icy or winding roads? Or drivers who cut in front of you? Stay away from semis as much as possible--trust me!

April 09 2013 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for the link Mr Truk

I've anthropomorphized a list of things that went through the brakes' computer during testing:

1 0:48 Hey, that volvo wagon looks a little close. [cue the light.]
2 0:49 Dude, are you asleep?? [sound alarm!]
3 0:51 I suppose it's not so bad. I'll just apply the brakes a little and help....
4 0:51.8 *F*.

January 31 2013 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

my benz has 'dtr'. distence trailing works

January 28 2013 at 8:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Man

How do we know this isn’t fake? There is a person driving the truck. He/she could be slamming on the brakes. Take the truck driver out, and then maybe I might believe you.

January 25 2013 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Man's comment

upvoting yourself and having dumb conspiracy theories on an already existing technology doesn't make you look cool in the comments.

January 29 2013 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ele Truk

Looks like they have it working better than their earlier demonstrations:

January 24 2013 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


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