Autonomous crash-avoidance technology announced for trucks

In the future, some tractor-trailers traveling on Pennsylvania freeways might be equipped with technology designed to reduce rear-end collisions. Two global truck parts companies, ZF and WABCO, have announced their joint effort to bring the Evasive Maneuver Assist system to the market. This technology would use sensory data and autonomous truck controls to steer a big rig around a stopped vehicle to avoid an accident.

The CEO of ZF said that the system would be ready in three to four years. The EMA system combines the active braking system from WABCO with the electrohydraulic ReAX steering system from ZF. Radar and other data collection receptors collect information about the traffic ahead of a truck. After detecting a stopped vehicle, the system warns the driver with visual, audio, and tactile alarms. If the driver does not respond, then the EMA system automatically attempts to avoid a crash.

The technology also monitors roadway conditions and estimates the stopping distance between the truck and the other vehicle. This information would further support the software’s calculations about how to respond. When vehicles block the path of the truck in adjacent lanes, then the system would brake as hard as possible instead of swerving into other cars. EMA technology represents an important advance in autonomous driving within real-world situations.

Although crash-avoidance technology has the potential to reduce 18-wheeler accidents in the future, truck collisions remain a serious hazard to occupants of other vehicles. When it can be established that a crash was caused by a truck driver who was distracted, fatigued or otherwise negligent, an attorney can often be of assistance to an injured victim in seeking compensation for medical expenses and other losses that have been sustained.