Eryk Biskupski, Managing Director at Brigade Electronics Poland, discusses how technology is helping to improve safety in the bus and coach industry.
Poland has a combination of government support, a good geographical location for exports around Europe, well-developed supply chain, and skills, that all contribute to a growing bus and coach manufacturing industry in the country. A few well-known European manufacturers such as Volvo and Man established their factories in Poland a while ago but, there are also large Polish players in the market like Solaris or Autosan. Bus manufacturers are building vehicles for multiple countries, so we work closely with them to discuss how Brigade’s vehicle safety systems can help to enhance safety for drivers and other road users.
In order to understand their requirements, we work closely with the industry and have a dedicated Brigade team that specialise in making these vehicles safer by conforming to the highest possible standards.
Image: Eryk Biskupski, Managing Director at Brigade Electronics Poland
Educating the industry has been critical to this approach and we are working closely with OEMs and fleet operators to raise awareness of the issues that arise from incidents on roads and in workplaces. Relationships are key to this – building trust is really important. Not just for selling our products, but so that our customers know that they can rely on us to provide the right information and technical expertise.
It’s important that drivers feel confident in their vehicles and can manouevre them safely without the worry of blind spots creating difficulties and causing damage or, even worse, injuries to others.
Image: Backeye®360 Monitor and Camera
The introduction of electric, hybrid and hydrogen-powered buses has meant that the QVS (Quiet Vehicle Sounder) is growing more and more in popularity.
The size and design of buses and coaches mean they have numerous blind spots which cause visibility challenges for drivers who might not see, for example, a cyclist when they are turning. Our 360-degree camera monitor system, the Backeye®360, is the ideal solution and is one of our best-selling vehicle safety systems.
With the biggest share of newly registered buses run on green energy in western Europe since 2020, Solaris is also leading with the approach to safety on their newly manufactured vehicles. It was very natural to partner up with them for the trial of our Artificial Intelligence-powered product Sidescan®Predict and fitted the system over 50 vehicles. The feedback from the customer, and especially the drivers, was nothing short of great.
Sidescan®Predict uses artificial intelligence to assist drivers by alerting them via an alarm or voice warning of any impending contact with an object or vulnerable road user so that they can take immediate action. Utilising artificial intelligence has also meant that the possibility of the driver receiving false alerts is greatly minimised.
There needs to be more of a lean towards the consequences of incidents. Unfortunately, unlike some of the countries in the EU and the UK, we have no official laws in Poland saying that vehicles of a certain size or type need to be fitted with safety devices. This means we have a great deal of work to do to educate the industry and convince them that safety devices are crucial to protecting drivers, their vehicles and other road users.
We are doing this gradually – by attending exhibitions, meeting potential customers and speaking regularly to our existing customers.
However, this is a big job and is one of the reasons we are focused on building relationships with OEMs. In Poland, due to the finances involved, operators don’t tend to see retrofitting safety devices as a priority – particularly when there is no legislation, like DVS, saying they are obligated to. Working with OEMs means we can focus on vehicles being fitted with the right safety equipment at the outset.
What we are trying to achieve is an industry-wide realisation that our products not only help operators to work more efficiently – for example, by avoiding downtime from vehicles that are out of action due to damage – but more importantly, safely. For those involved in incidents, the impact can be immense and life changing. It is not always possible to demonstrate the emotional trauma that can be caused from experiencing a road or workplace injury or witnessing the death of someone else. Preventing deaths and injuries should be a priority for everyone and not just for those who have been unfortunate enough to have experienced it.
For further information about Brigade and our range of commercial vehicle safety products, please speak to one of our friendly team by visiting our contact page.