Compulsory ADAS for European trucks set to expand

EC drive to cut HGV kill rates will see more mandating of driver assistance technology, discovers Siegfried Mortkowitz [Mob.Mortkowitz.2015.12.21]

Since 1 November, 2015, all new heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) sold in the European Union have had to be equipped with lane departure warning systems (LDWS) and autonomous emergency braking systems (AEBS).

Fitting out trucks and buses with these two advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) was mandated in an European Commission (EC) regulation published 13 July, 2009 and covers Category M2 and M3 vehicles, which are designed to carry more than eight passengers, and Category N2 and N3 vehicles, which carry goods and weigh more than 3.5 tons.

Certain parts of the mandate are being implemented in stages. New types of vehicles in these classes had to be equipped with these systems by 1 November, 2013. In addition, the mandate foresees two categories of AEB systems, which are dubbed Level 1 and Level 2. These are AEBS performance standards, explains Peter Kronberg, safety director at the Volvo Group, and define the time it takes for a heavy vehicle to reduce speed when approaching a stationary or slow-moving vehicle. According to the mandate, all new heavy vehicles must be equipped with Level 2 AEBS no later than 1 November, 2018. Kronberg says Volvo trucks already meet the Level 2 standard.

Although several classes of vehicles are exempt from the mandates, including urban buses, off-road vehicles and vehicles with more than three axles, this is an important step to making European roads safer. The EC estimates that the addition of these two ADAS systems, as well as the mandated electronic stability control (ESC) system, which went into effect in 2014 for all new vehicles, will prevent some 5,000 road traffic fatalities a year in Europe.

“AEBS is really designed to prevent front-to-rear crashes on motorways and medium- to high-speed roads,” Andrew Miller, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, explains. “And the governments decided to target heavy-goods vehicles because their mass means that when they do crash on a motorway, they cause a lot of damage and a serious threat to life. And they are major contributors occasionally to very serious multi-pileup car crashes.”

Miller says that when the regulation was first developed, ADAS systems were already considered as having a great potential benefit. “Since those days, these systems have got even better. Now they are very effective on cars as well. That’s why regulators are starting to think about potentially extending this type of regulation to passenger vehicles.”

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