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Breakthrough in collision avoidance technology for HGV’s

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Improving the safety and efficiency of commercial vehicles has always been at the very forefront of driving technology. American company WABCO Holding Inc, a leading global supplier of commercial vehicle technologies, have created a prototype collision avoidance system aimed at assisting lorry drivers with dodging crashes when human reactions just aren’t quick enough.

WABCO have called the system Evasive Maneuver Assist (EMA) and it works by using WABCO’s OnGuardACTIVE radar sensors to identify moving or stationary vehicles and alert the driver via visual, audio and haptic signals of imminent rear-end collisions. If the driver determine that the system cannot avoid a rear-end collision by driver-initiated or autonomous braking alone, Evasive Maneuver Assist engages to help the driver to safely steer around an obstructing vehicle and to bring truck and trailer to a complete and safe stop.

Jacques Esculier, Chairman and CEO of WABCO said, “Evasive Maneuver Assist is yet another industry leading innovation that has the potential to significantly advance commercial vehicle and road safety worldwide.”

However, not everyone is ready to allow technology to have the final say with many people wary about the implications of putting it in control. Recently Tesla have come under fire after a passenger of one of their self-driving cars died due to it not detecting a tractor-trailer in the lane next to it and consequently swerved into it.

Jean-François Bonnefon, Psychological Scientist at the Toulouse School of Economics believes that these issues raise many important questions: “Is it acceptable for an autonomous vehicle to avoid a motorcycle by swerving into a wall, considering that the probability of survival is greater for the passenger of the car, than for the rider of the motorcycle?” He also said that although these new advances in technology are exciting, the potential problems cannot be ignored, “As we are about to endow millions of vehicles with autonomy, taking algorithmic morality seriously has never been more urgent.”