Have you ever seen people working on a highway and wondered how safe it is? In fact, despite their highly-visible clothing and warning equipment, they are still exposed to high-risk working conditions. Even the workers that are working from inside a truck. To solve this MAN with partners have developed a driverless safety vehicle.
The idea here is very simple – an autonomous truck would follow working machinery, becoming a safety buffer between it and incoming traffic. In other words, in case of an accident, the empty truck is damaged and people maintaining or fixing the road remain safe. Of course, the driverless safety vehicle would carry all the important warning signs. But what other requirements does it have to fulfill?
Such driverless safety truck would come to the site with a driver like a normal truck. Then the system should take over and the vehicle should follow working machinery completely by itself. It means, it has to maintain proper distance, stop whenever people in front stop and start going by itself. This poses a serious challenge for technology and safety of the vehicle, especially having in mind that it has to react to crashes properly. MAN says that all major components, such as steering and braking systems, sensors, environment detection and control software components must meet strict criteria for safety-related systems in motor vehicles.
Man is using as many of production components as possible, in order make production easier and more efficient. Of course, most parts come from a normal production MAN truck, but even cameras and radar systems, including devices for detecting objects, lanes and open spaces, are pretty close to production. Besides this entire environment surveying technology, there a wireless transfer connection is established between the safety truck and the working vehicle, as an added safety measurement. MAN driverless safety vehicle is soon going to be tested in Hessen, on motorway hard shoulders.
Making workplace of maintenance and road workers is an important task. However, it is expected that the truck will have to pass some rigorous testing, in order to ensure that it does not malfunction and cause harm.