Cyclist detection for larger vehicles like LGV and HGV’s is becoming a priority for vehicles driving within busy city centres, specifically London. Many vehicles follow safety operators schemes like FORS and CLOCS to improve their vehicle safety and lower the risk of cyclist accidents, however the current technology in place to detect cyclists has been described as flawed and outdated.
Many technology suppliers offer ultrasonics as part of their cyclist safety range, a product designed for vehicle reversing – small mounted sensors pick up the distance between you and the nearest object, i.e. a wall or post and beep as you approach. This same technology is placed onto the side of the vehicle to detect movement on the left or right of the vehicle.
Unfortunately in practice this isn’t as effective as originally hoped. As the sensors are highly sensitive to any object or movement often road furniture like lampposts and bollards, cars, pedestrians and other large vehicles will activate the sensors – false alarming the driver and essentially distracting them from driving – making city centre driving more difficult instead of safer.
Vehicle safety experts Vision Techniques have been aware of this issue for some time thanks to their close relationships with their customers. Feedback from waste managers and fleet operators told us that the constant false alarming was rendering any true detection void.
“We knew that new technology would be the only way to effectively detect cyclists and prevent left turning accidents. That’s when we looked to video analytics to solve the problem.” Technical manager Nigel Armstrong explained.
Using software designed to recognise directional change in pixel brightness, motion and distance, a video analytics system can distinguish when an object is approaching the vehicle using a blind spot mounted camera.
“The beauty of the system is that because it visually recognises when a cyclist is approaching, it’s also able to filter objects moving the opposite direction, effectively preventing any false alarming.”
The system is also based on a camera and monitor design, so the driver can be warned with a visual and audible alarm which can instantly be verified by looking at the screen, unlike ultrasonics which simply bleep.
Video analytics also allows for DVR recording so any event covered by the blind spot cameras can be reviewed later to prove liability and improve driver training.
“We call the system VT TurnAware. We’ve added it to our popular TurnSafe range which includes audible and visual alarms and illuminated warning signs. We believe it’s the next step in cyclist safety.”
The new video analytic technology is being demonstrated on the new Vision Techniques show vehicle and is currently being trialled by both municipal and road haulage businesses around the UK.
“We can’t wait to show this to our customers as we know it will change the cyclist safety market for the better and help to eliminate left turn accidents on busy roads around the UK.”