Blind spot assist uses radar to eliminate collisions during turning

September 02, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Truck manufacturer Daimler has developed system that promises to reliably detect cyclists and pedestrians in the blind spot of the vehicle. While the system seems superior to earlier approaches, it still will take a while until it enters series production.

One particular type of accidents is not only a rather frequent one but also typically very serious: When large trucks collide during a turn with cyclists or pedestrians. In such cases, the weaker traffic participant often enough suffers severe injuries or worse. And typically the reason for the accident was that the victim was in the blind spot, the truck driver was unable of seeing the pedestrian or cyclist. Across the truck industry, there have been numerous efforts to develop something like an intersection assistant that helps truck drivers to avoid such accidents, but so far they all failed. Now Daimler claims to have developed a system that promises to make an end to this problem: The company's new Blind Spot Assist promises to reliably detect any hazard in critical situations with restricted vision.

Unlike earlier approaches, the new system takes into account the tractrix curve of a semitrailer or trailer. The system also warns if the truck is in danger of colliding with stationary obstacles such as street lamps. As a welcome side effect, the system also works as lane changing assistant - it supports the driver when he tries to change the lane on a multi-lane highway to the right side (in countries with right-hand traffic), another situation that frequently ends with a crash.

The centrepiece of the system is a radar sensor placed on the right side (again: in countries with right-hand traffic) of the vehicle near the rear axle. The radar sensor scans the near environment at the side of the truck, backwards and forward. With this arrangement it is possible to deploy the system also in semi-trailer trucks. In addition, it covers an area of two metres in the front of the truck and thus includes the entire relevant area to be monitored during a turn.

Since it issues an active visual and audible warning (graded by the degree of collision danger), it can be