If Only Ralph Kramden Lived to See This…

In congested, urban environments, the number of collisions caused by buses and large trucks is going up. A new, wireless sensor system may help reverse that trend.

According to Smart & Resilient Cities, between 2002 and 2014, buses and vanpools in the U.S. were involved in 85,391 collisions, leading to 1,340 fatalities and 201,382 injuries. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by 20 percent, and the number of crashes leading to injuries increased by 62 percent.

Because bus drivers face challenges such as blind spots on both sides of the vehicle, approaching crowded bus stops, being surrounded by rushed and distracted drivers and pedestrians, plus weather-related issues, mass transit officials and regulatory bodies are seeking new ways prevent collisions.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) may help reduce collisions by alerting drivers to danger in front of and around the bus; however, to outfit vehicles that stay in service for many years, a retrofittable, aftermarket product that is quick to install is necessary. That’s where Mobileye’s Shield+ Software technology comes in, focusing on key challenges faced by bus drivers. The product was piloted in 2016 and in July 2018 a study on the findings was released.

Back in 2016, the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP) began testing the ADAS system on 38 buses. Findings from the study revealed that buses with the retrofitted ADAS experienced 71.55 percent fewer forward collisions and 43.32 percent fewer pedestrian and cyclist collision warnings and blind spot warnings.

How does the system work? It analyzes the risk of collision with vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists in front, pedestrians, and cyclists in the blind spots, unintended lane departures, and headway/following times. When a threat is detected, the system warns the bus operator with visual and audio alerts. These alerts are designed to give drivers time to avoid, or at least mitigate, a collision. Comments? Email us.

November 9, 2018

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