Safety first for LCV fleets, more than ever
Confronted with an ever-growing concern for safety and ergonomics, employers have to make important choices concerning their LCV fleet. Luckily, OEMs and equipment specialists are constantly introducing innovations. Fleet Europe presents some recent initiatives and features.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
At Volkswagen, the new Crafter, launched in late 2016, and Transporter 6.1 presented only a few months ago, introduced an electro-mechanical power steering system, thus allowing a large number of active driver assistance systems, such as ESP with trailer stabilisation, ACC Adaptive Cruise Control, a post-collision braking system, a side wind compensation system that automatically stabilises the vehicle in case of strong wind gusts, and a trailer manoeuvring assistant system.
VW also offers a range of passive safety features on its vans, with front, side and head airbags for the driver and passengers and warning systems that include a reversing camera, a parking distance monitor and Rear Traffic Alert system, not to forget LED headlights, cornering lights and Light Assist. The Crafter and Transporter even have a Park Assist feature that simplifies parking and reversing from parking spaces.
All of these are features that were previously only to be found on passenger cars, and are testimony of the rapid technological evolution in the LCV segment.
Pictured below: Volkswagen introduces safety features to its LCVs that were previously only found on passenger cars.
For both better ergonomics and safety, Swedish manufacturer of LCV racking and flooring solutions Modul System presents a patented floor system with click-lock modules joined together using a tongue and groove method, called Modul-Floor, that has been inspired by the click-lock floors in homes and offices.
Allowing the LCV floor to be installed without drilling through the vehicle body, using highly adhesive glue stronger than nuts and bolts, the structure of the vehicle remains untouched, eliminating the risk of corrosion, and also contributing to a higher residual value.
Ergonomics are improved using rails integrated in the floor and mounted to the vehicle walls and even the ceiling if required. The floor surface itself is made from anti-skid aluminium tread plate, also contributing to the safety of the vehicle operator.
Pictured below: Modul System: Click-lock floors and integrated rails add to vehicle ergonomics and operator safety.
Dutch vehicle data solutions company Squarell Technology introduced the Driver Awareness Panel (DAP) for light commercial vehicles. This tool is available as a data kit for integration into existing telematics, or as a stand-alone device that is to be placed on the dashboard.
The DAP challenges the driver to improve his or her driving behaviour. Its built-in algorithms take care of driver attention loss in the long run to ensure constant safety assistance. The tool’s user interface has six indicators that individually give instant visual and audible feedback to the driver to help improve alleged driving inconsistencies.
The six indicators on the DAP are an excessive number of RPM, unsteady driving, engine power, harsh acceleration (with unsteady accelerator usage), ECO driving and anticipating the road ahead. For any one of these, the DAP will signal the driver using green, yellow or red LEDs indicating whether he is doing well or if improvement is possible. This should lead to lower fuel consumption and, of course, fewer accidents.
Pictured below: The Driver Awareness Panel by Squarell Technology helps to improve driving behaviour.
Ford has been working on a solution that can help identify where traffic incidents are likely to occur and then enable city authorities to take pre-emptive action. This was done analysing vehicle behaviour in London on a fleet of 160 LCVs equipped with a plug-in device and used over 1 million kilometres, recording data of driving events such as braking and use of hazard warning lights, together with road accident reports.
The company tracked vehicle journeys in the city and logged highly detailed driving data from driving events such as braking, the severity of that braking, and even where hazard warning lights were applied. This helped to identify near-misses. Ford then cross-referenced this information against existing accident reports and built an algorithm to determine the likelihood of where future incidents might occur.
The OEM revealed its findings in the Ford City Data Report, showing how they think travelling in cities could be made easier and safer, leveraging vehicle data. The report also investigated how scheduling delivery van journeys for earlier in the day, before peak times, could benefit all road users, and how using journey data could help identify the best locations for electric vehicle charging points.
Pictured on top: Ford analysed driving data of 160 LCVs to lower the accident risk.
This UK-based provider of connected vehicle cameras and video telematics recently showcased its newest enhanced advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) solution that combines a forward-facing camera along with an in-vehicle fatigue distraction monitor, driver feedback device and HD mobile digital video recorder (DVR).
This technology aims to tackle traffic incidents before they arise by detecting and warning of driver risk. With the forward-facing camera, the system identifies lane departure, forward collisions, tailgating and pedestrians or cyclists.
Alongside that, the in-vehicle monitor recognises when the driver is tired or distracted, and alerts him with visual and audible warnings. At the same time, the office-based fleet manager can monitor areas of concern both in real-time and historically, and can take appropriate actions to improve road safety and driver welfare.
Pictured below: Visiontrack presented a new Advanced Driver Assistance System with cameras and an in-vehicle fatigue distraction monitor.