The sheer size of some heavy goods vehicles (HGV) makes it impossible for drivers to have 360-degree visibility. With around 4,000 people losing their lives through HGV collisions in Europe every year – 1,000 of which are cyclists or pedestrians – it is crucial that vehicles with complex blind spots utilise innovative technology to help reduce collisions.
As one of the most technically sophisticated products in the portfolio, Sidescan®Predict was completely designed by Brigade. It was created to reduce the amount of false alarms drivers receive about the risk of a collision, meaning they can be confident in the accuracy of the warning.
Being supported by the Knowledge Transfer Partnership initiative – which encourages collaboration between businesses and universities – and Cambridge University, Brigade’s aim was to develop a cost-effective and reliable collision detection system that can intelligently discriminate between potential collisions and false alerts, helping to accurately warn the driver and provide sufficient time for intervention.
The development of the system took over 10,000 hours of research, before undertaking its first trials in 2020.
Infrastructure services company FM Conway had been searching for a detection system that could be permanently activated and would reduce the amount of false positives drivers were receiving. FM Conway trialled Sidescan®Predict for six months and received extremely positive reviews from its drivers, who noticed a significant reduction in the risk of collisions with vulnerable road users and static objects.
Ultrasonic object detection systems have helped drivers to become more aware of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. However, less innovative devices simply make HGV drivers aware of objects, not whether there is any danger of a collision.
This means that alerts may sound at frequent intervals when there is no risk – especially when driving through built up and highly populated areas. A driver can become irritated by these false alerts and avoid using their indicators, meaning the warning system does not trigger an alert.
Repetitive misleading alerts can also cause drivers to lack confidence in the device and become complacent to the possibility of risk. This could cause them to be slow to react, increasing the level of danger to vulnerable road users.
Sidescan®Predict is different. Utilising artificial intelligence technology, it constantly gathers information, differentiates static objects like road furniture from moving objects, and calculates data, such as the speed and distance of a cyclist or pedestrian in the vicinity of the vehicle. Feeding this data into an algorithm created by Brigade, the device accurately gauges the risk of a collision and instantly alerts the driver in time for them to act.
The device is always on, even at speeds below 30km/h, and, vitally, is active whether the driver uses their indicators or not. The system comprises six sensors, which have a detection area of 2.5 metres, further reducing the risk of fatalities by 84%, compared to other systems on the market which detect between 1 and 1.5m. With the three-step alert level, there are minimal false alarms, meaning the driver can be confident in its accuracy and take the necessary action to avoid an incident.
Sidescan®Predict can be retrofitted and is extremely simple to use – drivers do not need to undertake extensive training to be shown how the system will improve safety.