Volvo CISS lorry uses lasers, ultrasound to reduce collisions with cyclists

Volvo is trialling a laser-based safety system that could help reduce the number of cyclists killed or injured by lorries on busy city streets.

Automobiles

Fresh from building cars that drive themselves, Volvo has developed a vehicle safety system that could reduce the number of cyclists killed or injured by lorries on busy city streets. The company claims the Cooperative Intersection Safety System (CISS), part of the EU-funded Intersafe 2 project, could improve traffic safety at road junctions by as much as 80 per cent.

The system uses laser scanners and ultrasound sensors positioned at the front and on the passenger side of the truck to monitor a driver's blind spot -- the area he or she cannot see while turning. This information is processed using on-board computers, which output a bird's-eye view of the lorry and its immediate surroundings on a TV monitor inside the cabin.

The CISS system can also reduce the chances of drivers failing to notice pedestrians at a crossing. A radio receiver fitted on the roof of the truck communicates wirelessly with nearby traffic lights to monitor whether the lights are red or green, or whether someone has pressed the pedestrian crossing button.

If the system determines a cyclist or pedestrian is at risk, warning lights or sound are activated to warn the driver of a possible collision.

Volvo says Intersafe 2 is merely a research and development project at this stage, and that there are currently no plans to introduce CISS in the real world, but we don't believe a word of it. The company has a wealth of high-tech safety technologies, many of which started life as R&D projects but are now available to buy.

We'll be keeping our eyes peeled and our fingers crossed that this gets a commercial rollout sometime in the near future.

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