Aiming to increase the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, and facilitate the truck drivers’ work, Volvo Trucks is now introducing a range of new safety systems across its range. This comes after Volvo Trucks South Africa raised local awareness of its STOP LOOK WAVE road safety campaign for children in May this year.

“Safety is one of the driving forces behind every decision we make. Our vision of a zero-accident future is one which covers all road users, guides the way to a better future and drives us towards our goal of making the world’s safest trucks,” said Waldemar Christensen, MD of Volvo Trucks South Africa.

Among the features that will be available as an option to local fleet owners, is the new Front Short-Range Assist. The system is designed to detect if a cyclist or pedestrian is within the risk area in front of the truck, using a front radar and camera, and warns the driver if there is imminent risk of a collision. Another feature is a new door opening warning system. This system is designed to warn if a pedestrian, cyclist, or car is approaching the truck from behind, on the same side of the truck where the door is opened.

“We’re constantly developing and introducing additional safety systems that can enhance the driver’s capabilities, helping to protect both them and the people they share the road with. With these new systems we take important steps to accomplish these objectives,” says Christensen.

Some of the new features have been developed to – already now meet or even exceed – the EU’s updated safety legislation, the General Safety Regulation (GSR), that will come into effect in July 2024. GSR, which makes several advanced driver support systems mandatory, aims to increase road safety and improve protection for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. By introducing the legislation, the EU expects to save over 25 000 lives and avoid 140 000 injuries by 2038.

“Although these regulations do not apply in South Africa, our smart safety systems are designed to monitor truck behaviour and surrounding traffic not just to protect, but to predict safety hazards and react. The systems may be out of sight, but they are engineered to activate and to support the driver in a wide variety of conceivable situations. And by doing so, they make the trucks as safe as possible for the driver, as well as all other road users,” says Christensen.

The new safety features from Volvo Trucks are:

Front Short-Range Assist (included in the GSR)
A front radar and camera are used to detect if someone is in front of the truck. Via a visual and sound signal, the system warns the driver if there is imminent risk of a collision

Intelligent Speed Assist (included in the GSR)
This feature keeps the driver informed about speed limits by detecting road speed signs and displaying the limit on the instrument panel. The system displays the speed limit for the actual vehicle combination and also warns, with both visuals and sound alerts, if the speed limit is exceeded.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (included in the GSR)

This system monitors the tire pressure on the truck and trailer. The new GSR regulation stipulates that if the pressure drops 20% below reference pressure, the driver should be informed via the driver display. The Volvo system exceeds the legal requirements by letting the driver choose to be warned even earlier than the stipulated 20% pressure drop. The system can monitor a wide range of under- and over-pressure readings. In addition, better energy efficiency is achieved by always having the optimum tire pressure.

Door Opening Warning
This system, which is available on both sides of the truck, will warn if a moving object such as a pedestrian, cyclist or car is approaching from behind in the monitored area, on the same side of the truck where the door is opened. The system is active when the truck is at a standstill, and for two minutes after the engine or motor has been switched off.

Auto Hold
The Auto Hold feature helps keep the truck stationary until the accelerator is applied, thus reassuring, and assisting the driver on slopes and hills.

Intelligent Speed Assist will be available in most markets including South Africa, while the other systems will be available to order globally on the Volvo FH, FM and FMX with diesel, gas, and electric drivelines, starting in September this year.