|What is Sensor Fusion and How Does it Work for You?|
Risk is inherent to any business. In heavy-duty industries, risk is associated with loss of life and accidents. As safety technologies continue to evolve, we are seeing exciting new innovations that enhance the ability to mitigate risk at the operator level and on the worksite. Sensor fusion is further enhancing these innovations by integrating these technologies to provide a more complete safety solution.
When applied to safety, the applications of sensor fusion become limitless. For instance, sensor fusion allows you to link your disparate systems, including collision mitigation technology (cameras, radar, alerts) with an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). Based on the desires of the organization, the combination of the systems can actively alert the operator or directly engage the vehicle’s braking, suspension and steering controls to allow the operator more control and avoid collisions.
Additionally, telematics systems rely on sensor fusion for operator monitoring, particularly for near-miss and accident reporting. These advanced systems are changing the way companies look to equip their operators and mitigate risk.
The concept of sensor fusion is highlighted in various applications, including the introduction and deployment of Bendix’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Saia, a less-than-truckload carrier. Saia began to take delivery of more than 331 new Volvo tractors equipped with Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems in 2013. A combination of technologies and sensors, Bendix ESP delivers active cruise control with braking features, along with collision mitigation technology. Saia is well known for its safety record and its adoption of technology.
Sensor fusion is gaining momentum in the waste industry, with construction and mining following suit. As with heavy-duty trucking, these industries realize the importance of providing their operators with safety technology to further help them excel at their jobs and keep themselves and those around their equipment safe and free from harm.
The rapid adoption and deployment of sensor fusion requires manufacturers, OEMs, distributors and independent suppliers to create open solutions that can interact with other systems. Moving forward, engineers, manufacturers and suppliers need to work together to ensure they are allowing for continual growth and innovation.
It comes down to helping heavy-duty operators mitigate risks through education and technology. Sensor fusion marries new thinking and technologies with proven active safety systems so that the wheel isn’t being reinvented each time—just improved upon—and worksite safety is maximized. It’s about building on what already works, and integrating as much useful data as we can collect ahead of time in order to minimize the incidence of preventable accidents.