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Safety System Advances Are Driving An Evolution In Heavy-Duty Truck Manufacturing

Truck safety systems have been on a march. Considering their huge benefit, not just to safety, but to your bottom line, it’s important to consider integrating safety systems into your fleet planning efforts.

Fortunately, it looks like fleets around the country are doing just that. The “take rate” on this type of equipment hovers around 30 percent, industry-wide. Safety system suppliers and OEMs are coordinating their efforts with complex new engineering concepts and technical roadmaps that chart the way to a future of truck safety innovation.

Why Go Early

The fact is, the earlier you get involved with safety efforts for your fleet, the easier it will be for you to spec these additions on future vehicles. Another consideration lies in the amount of cross-operation that will be happening.

Consider how antilock braking systems (ABS) communicate with collision mitigation systems to improve safety and crash recovery. Each component in a safety system works with the others to create a more effective network.

Take Daimler as an example. They are already heading into the direction of complete safety system integration. The Detroit Assurance collection of safety systems is completely integrated at the manufacturer. You can expect the truck’s braking system and in-dash sensors to be built in at the factory.

Integrating the technology prevents end users from suffering a disparate amount of compatibility problems or process changes. Integration can also go beyond just the truck, but also to telematics systems and other essential back office systems.

Driver Monitoring Systems

One of the systems that finds itself increasingly on the must-have list for any fleet manager are systems designed to monitor truck driver behavior or status. Fully integrated fleet management systems often offer advanced video technologies and analysis tools.

Imagine a system that tracks fatigue and operator behavior while providing coaching opportunities on the back end. We are seeing a new future develop before us.

Cell phone usage monitoring to keep distracted driving at bay and collision avoidance systems to avoid crashes. One could even imagine fatigue monitoring systems that keep an “eye” on operator eye movement.

When fleet managers have more comprehensive, actionable data on what their truck drivers are doing, fleet safety and efficiency efforts are rewarded. This is where analytics come in.

Big Data and Safety Systems

When you talk about optimizing integrated safety systems, you have to think beyond a one-note application, like collision avoidance. You must be able to properly parse out the data that is generated when these advanced technological systems are all communicating with each other and analyzing road data.

The point is, don’t allow safety systems to be used as a crutch. Even if the safety system could avoid a collision, the operator can still be susceptible to distractions like reading or cell phone use.

There is a particular relationship between the vehicle, the driver and the environment. Each element must be taken into account when assessing how the vehicle is operated.

What’s Next In Safety?

Obviously we will see continued adoption of advanced safety systems into heavy-duty commercial vehicles. New technologies, such as pedestrian recognition, will reshape the roadmap for truck manufacturing.

The next big horizon lies in vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. Next generation telematics and machine learning can handle everything from vehicle status to maintenance and inspection logging, all while providing multiple video angles and real-time feedback.

As always, it is important to note that all of these technologies are designed to work with a truck driver in mind. The vehicle will still need to be operated by a breathing human being who can make complex decisions quickly.

So as you consider what your next must-have spec should be, consider the rise of advanced vehicle safety systems and realize true benefits both in safety and in your bottom line.

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