How Ultrasonic Sensor Systems help keep all road users safe

Ultrasonics sensors help to keep cyclists safe on urban roads

Wing mirrors are a minimum requirement for any vehicle but there will always be limitations in terms of how much of the road they can cover – hence the warning to “check your blind spot” being drilled into all new drivers.

When it comes to driving HGVs, vans, buses and bin lorries, however, the need to see all areas of your vehicle becomes even more pressing due to increased blind spots. Mirrors cannot provide all-round views and when having to execute difficult manoeuvres, drivers need as much help as they can get to avoid collisions or accidents.

Advances in technology mean there is extra help available. Here, we take a look at ultrasonic sensor systems and how they can support drivers by acting as an extra pair of eyes – giving them peace of mind when behind the wheel.

What are Ultrasonic Sensor Systems?

As their name suggests, these systems scan an area around a vehicle using ultrasonic waves. Similar to the ultrasound used by some animals, such as bats, these waves detect objects – moving or stationary – surrounding a vehicle.

If the sensors pick something up a warning sound is issued informing the driver of the obstacle. Specialist equipment, such as our range of Ultrasonic Detection Systems , will also alert drivers to the distance between their vehicle and the object.

How they work

Sensors can be fitted to any part of the vehicle. Our range of discreet but powerful sensors are specially adapted for the front, side, back or corner of the vehicle. We also provide sensors that can be fitted to the steps up to a vehicle’s cab, an area which can jut out when manoeuvring.

Such sensors can be switched on by certain triggers, such as reverse gear being engaged or a vehicle’s left indicator being turned on, so they only kick into action when needed.

As an extra safety precaution, additional speaking alarms can be fitted to such sensor systems, which broadcast an audible alert so pedestrians and cyclists know which way the vehicle is going, or that it is about to manoeuvre.

The benefits

For drivers, having an extra pair of eyes on your vehicle and its blind spots provides invaluable peace of mind. The statistics surrounding blind spots and accidents show how dangerous these areas can be – particularly for cyclists.

Figures reveal 19% of cyclist fatalities involving HGVs occur when a lorry is turning left. A sensor system, such as Brigade’s Sidescan – activated by an indicator light – can alert both driver and cyclist to the potential danger.

As well as keeping road users safe, such sensors also have the added benefit of helping drivers avoid damaging their vehicles. Low-hanging branches, bollards and parked cars can all present a hazard for heavy good drivers, particularly if they’re having to manoeuvre in tight spaces.

Backscan sensors successfully helped supermarket giant Tesco protect its fleet of Mercedes Sprinter vans, after drivers reported having problems reversing. Brigade fitted upper Backscan sensors to the vans, to help drivers avoid obstacles such as tree branches, and lower Backscan sensors, which warn of pedestrians or cyclists in the vehicle’s path when reversing.

More information

We are very proud of our successful track record in helping keep all road users safe. To find out more about how Brigade can keep your workplace safe contact us here.

Visit our product page to discover all of our commercial vehicle safety products.