Volvo studies ways to prevent truck driver distractions

The inside of a truck cab offers more electronics and gadgets than ever before. A trucker can monitor how his truck and engine are performing and GPS mapping to stay on the right route.

All those dials and readouts can be a distraction as well, taking the focus of a driver off the road.

Volvo recently conducted a study of commercial vehicle drivers to improve traffic safety. Researchers wanted to know how drivers handle safety systems and information systems while driving.

According to Volvo…

Volvo has coordinated a pan-European research project (AIDE) that focuses on these aspects. The conclusion is that many accidents can be avoided if the systems are coordinated and better tailored to suit the flow of traffic and the driver’s situation.

On April 15-16 the project submitted its final report. Almost 200 researchers from throughout Europe, experts in the motoring industry and representatives of the EU were on hand when the results of four years’ research were presented.

“We know that the human factor is a contributory cause in at least 90 percent of all traffic accidents. If we can provide technology that adapts support systems to suit the individual driver and the current traffic situation, many accidents would be able to be avoided,” says Lars-Göran Löwenadler, Safety Director at Volvo Trucks.

“It is positive that the number of safety and information systems in modern vehicles is increasing. Taken individually, they offer many benefits as regards traffic safety and productivity, for instance, but the driver does risk being over-burdened by too much information. Especially bearing in mind that many drivers also have their mobile phones and perhaps also a GPS navigator in the vehicle. In order not to jeopardise traffic safety, we have developed solutions that allow all the systems to interact smoothly,” explains Volvo Technology’s Gustav Markkula, the company’s AIDE coordinator.

In concrete terms, AIDE is all about creating a user interface between the vehicle’s technology and the driver. The challenge is to integrate all the support systems into the driver’s environment so that they help the driver in the best possible way at the right time, and do not risk disrupting him in situations where the traffic demands all his attention.

Source: Volvo

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