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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 19:25 
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Ruza Zivkusic - ATN wrote:
Rollover technology gains broad support
By Ruza Zivkusic | November 11, 2010

Delta-V Experts engineers claim they have got what it takes to reduce truck rollovers and accidents.

Forensic engineer Dr George Rechnitzer says his team has the technology and background to link heavy vehicle performance with the physical characteristics of the road, providing real-time hazard alerts to drivers along their routes.
They are calling on the truck companies to undertake risk assessments of their routes and treat the road as part of the driver’s workplace.
The Melbourne-based team has the technology that enables quantified route-risk assessment. Many drivers are not aware of what’s ahead of them on the road, Rechnitzer says.

“We believe in route assessment for companies, which means a company with a particular type of products they want to carry between point A and B and finding out what risks are associated with taking that particular journey,” Rechnitzer says.
“Nothing prevents a truck from an accident but it will reduce the risk greatly.
“What we have in mind is combining the research with a GPS system, so the driver gets real-time alert to say if it’s approaching bends.”
Rechnitzer and his team measure the drivers’ speed, the weight of their load alongside with the route’s structure and hazards, combining the analysis with road geometry.

“The route assessment equipment in the car will assess the route and measure the acceleration around a bend.
“Having measured the road’s geometric characteristics we then combine it with the vehicle’s lateral stability characteristics to determent the safe speed of the particular curve or bend.
“In this way the driver can get by his GPS system real time warning of safe speed as he is approaching particular curves,” Rechnitzer says.
“How does the driver know about the hazards other than warning signs? Most of the warning sings are not addressed to trucks, you’ll see the occasional tip-over sign but currently they get no real time like someone sitting behind your shoulder telling you to watch this bend.”

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) Deputy CEO Neil Chambers believes companies need to address all aspects to reduce rollovers.
“If Delta-V Experts has got a product which helps companies to better plan routes when drivers might be coming to a road that could have combined forces, then that would be a valuable thing,” Chambers says.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the companies in more hazardous sector have done a fair amount of work to understand the dynamic forces and the routes they’re taking, particularly if they’ve got hazardous material on board.”

Fonterra Australia’s transport manager Tony Miller, who installed electronic stability controls in company vehicles to prevent rollovers, welcomed the engineers’ proposal.
He says he will consider any technology that target on road problems.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Government Relations Manager Bill McKinley says the proposal is a “great example” of what GPS technology can offer.
“Rollovers are a significant cause of truck accidents and they can occur at speeds well below the speed limit,” McKinley says.
The Motorcycle Riders Association (MRA) Vice-President Grant Delahoy says truck drivers who seldom travel on a route end up in accidents.
“There’s only one caution I’d give with the proposal; if the truck driver is solely relying on the system then he won’t be looking, it’s like airline pilots, you can train them to rely on equipment but you also need to train them to be vigilant.
“The major mechanical problem with any car is the person that holds the wheel,” Delahoy says.
I thoroughly agree with the good intentions of this system. But I also agree that using it as an additional aid only, is very important not as a substitute to good observation, and contemplating all aspects of conditions of course.

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