Safer right-turns with Volvo Trucks

Volvo has developed a system that aims at solving the problem of the truck driver’s blind spot on the passenger side. The results of the research will be demonstrated today in the Intersafe 2 EU project in Wolfsburg, Germany.

City junctions are dangerous places with traffic of all types jostling for space. In Europe, between 30 and 60 percent of all accidents resulting in injuries occur at intersections. Intersafe 2, which is an EU-funded project, aims at developing and demonstrating a Cooperative Intersection Safety System (CISS) that is able to improve traffic safety at intersections by as much as 80 percent. As a partner in the project, Volvo has focused on the truck driver’s blind spot on the passenger side.

“Above all, it is changes on the passenger side of the truck that the driver does not see. Pedestrians and cyclists, in particular, are really in danger here. This system alerts the driver about their movements on the right of the vehicle,” says Malte Ahrholdt, Project Manager at Volvo Technology.

Together with his colleagues, he has developed a system that aims at solving the problem of the driver’s blind spot. By fitting laser scanners and ultrasonic sensors that monitor the area on the right of the vehicle, the system can detect and warn the driver when a cyclist or pedestrian gets too close.

“As long as there is a need for transporting goods in cities, there will be trucks on the streets. Volvo Trucks is working on all fronts to improve safety – with enhanced information and advanced technology such as the existing reversing cameras and Lane Change Support. Even so, there are other things we can do to improve the situation still further, and the right-hand turn has been identified as a particularly relevant safety issue,” says Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic and Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks.

As Intersafe 2 is a research and development project, the outcome will not lead directly to a solution for series production, but it does show how critical traffic situations can be tackled with intelligent technical innovations.

May 17, 2011

Direct link to images:;T2011_1106;T2011_1107;T2011_1108;T2011_1109;T2011_1110;T2011_1111;T2011_1112.tif

About Intersafe-2
A European research and development project investigating safety in crossroads over a period of three years ending in May 2011. The project was jointly run by 11 parties (Volvo, VTT, Sick, Volkswagen, Inria, NEC, BMW, TRW, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, IKA and Swarco Traffic Systems) in six countries. The in-truck solution, which Volvo Technology developed jointly with Volvo Trucks, was unique to the project. The other participating companies were tasked with examining other aspects of traffic safety at road junctions. Intersafe-2 is a research and development project. For this reason, it will not lead directly to a solution for series production; instead, work on identifying and separating vulnerable road-users from other traffic in the urban environment will continue in other forms.

The traffic safety application’s function

Here’s how the system works:

  1. Laser scanners and ultrasound sensors are positioned at the front and on the right of the truck to cover the areas that the driver cannot see, in other words the traditional blind spots.
  2. A TV monitor provides a birds-eye view of what the truck looks like from above.
  3. A camera fitted just inside the windscreen monitors what the road junction looks like (the number of lanes, positioning of stop lines etc.).
  4. A radio receiver fitted on the truck roof communicates directly with the traffic lights. For instance, it registers if someone has pressed the button at the pedestrian crossing and it also notes which traffic lights are showing red and green respectively.

All this data is processed and a status assessment is performed.

How the driver is alerted:
Based on the status assessment, the truck driver is either alerted to the presence of a vulnerable road-user or warned of an imminent collision. There are two solutions for informing/warning the driver: flashing lights or sound. The warning is more urgent in intensity than the information message.

For further information, please contact:
Veronica Nyblom, Media Relations Europe, phone +46 31 322 09 97