ZF presents new truck safety assistant system Minimize the danger of accidents

ZF, Sicherheit, Lkw, Ausweichen, Assistenzsystem, Foto: Dominik Gigler

ZF presents new safety assistant system in cooperation with Wabco in preparation for IAA. They prevent rear-impact crashes via driver-independent steering intervention.

The supplier from the Lake of Constance developed the Evasive Maneuver Assist (EMA) - with project partner Wabco - and the Highway Driving Assist (HDA) for this very purpose. According to ZF, the EMA intervenes when the driver recognizes traffic obstructions in general, or tail ends of traffic jams specifically, too late. It takes over steering if required – including taking control of the steering wheel. The system recognizes whether the Automatic Emergency Brake System (AEBS) or a driver-induced emergency brake is enough to stop in front of an obstacle. If a collision cannot be avoided by the initiated braking maneuver, the EMA steers the truck – activated to the right or left by following the driver’s steering impulse – including its trailer independently on to the required empty hard shoulder, even when coming out of maximum velocity. "Our design provides automated evasion, braking and stabilizing simultaneously – at all velocities, and with any loading condition of every kind of trailer", Mitja Schulz, Senior Vice President & Head of Steering Systems for Trucks at ZF TRW, explains. With sudden manual evasive maneuvers there is always the risk that the driver steers either too little, and thereby causes a critical collision, or steers too abruptly and sharply, which causes the truck to skid, tip over, or spin into the oncoming lane and endanger other people – the EMA prevents such scenarios reliably, according to ZF. But the system also lets itself be overridden by the driver’s own steering impulses, brake interventions or stepping on the pedals.   

System Interaction 

According to ZF, the EMA results out of a combination of technologies of ZF and Wabco, including ZF’s electro-hydraulic servo steering and Wabco’s Electronic Brake System (EBS), emergency brake assistant, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and dynamic-driving control systems. When the EMA is activated depends on the control logic of Wabco’s emergency brake. The system warns the driver at stage one via an acoustic and optical signal on the display; stage two includes haptic signals in connection with a moderate delay of 3,5 m/s². Stage three finally initiates an emergency stop at the stability limit up to a standstill. 

The system interprets a sudden over-jerking of the steering wheel as directive to start the EMA from stage one. During the automated steering maneuver, the software continuously calculates the optimal evasive course and adapts the steering angle accordingly. The EMA’s integrated rollover-protection-function was adapted for such extreme driving situations. 

Always loyal to the party line 

Not only tail ends of traffic jams or confusing traffic situations harbor a high potential for accidents; carelessness, distractions or microsleeping are recurring causes of serious accidents. According to ZF, the Highway Driving Pilot (HDA) prevents this. The system warns the driver not only of unintentionally leaving the lane, but also keeps the trailer on course independently. At the same time, the HDA monitors the safety distance to the preceding vehicle throughout all velocities, including stopping and restarting. The system’s core element is to include data from the dashboard camera to identify road markings. A radar sensor measures the distances. Additionally, the HDA is coupled with ZF’s own transmission, including the proactive shift strategy and the servo steering. That is also how – in connection with the control electronics developed for this very purpose – missing road markings are compensated for. "When there are no markings on the side of the road, the system calculates and adds them virtually", Mitja Schulz explains, and adds "we will begin series production in about two years. It’s even realistic that all conditions for truck platooning will be met by then."

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