IVBSS (which takes just as long to say as the full-featured program for which it stands) is a five-year, $32 million cooperative agreement between the US Department of Transportation and a group of partners to test an integrated system of crash-warning technologies for different types and classes of vehicles. Partners for the heavy-truck category include Eaton Corp., International Truck and Engine Corp., Takata Corp., Con-way Freight, and Battelle. Oversight and analysis work for the program has been performed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) at Ann Arbor, MI
Based on recent USDOT studies, an integrated countermeasure system could prevent over 48% of rear-end, run-off-road, and lane-change crashes. Through the Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) Initiative, the USDOT established a partnership with the automotive and commercial vehicle industries to develop and field-test an integrated safety system on light vehicles and commercial trucks.
The prototype vehicles were equipped to provide forward collision warning (FCW), lane departure warning (LDW), lane change warning (LCW), and curve speed warning (CSW) functions:
* FCW alerts drivers when they are in danger of striking the rear of the vehicle in front of them traveling in the same direction.
* The LDW function provides alerts to drivers when a lateral drift toward or over lane edges is sensed without a turn signal indication.
* LCW will increase a driver’s situational awareness of vehicles in close proximity traveling in adjacent lanes in the same direction.
* The CSW function warns drivers when they are traveling too fast for an upcoming curve.
The system was installed on 10 trucks using visual displays and auditory tones to warn drivers of potential threats. Eighteen drivers from Con-way Freight’s Detroit terminal participated in the heavy-truck field tests. Each participant drove one of the specially equipped, class-8 tractors for 10 months. While the test vehicles were driven, data-acquisition systems recorded driver actions and responses to the integrated warning system.
UMTRI’s key findings related to driver acceptance include:
* The majority of drivers perceived that integrated crash-warning systems would increase driver safety. Drivers stated that the integrated system made them more aware of the traffic environment around their vehicle and their position in the lane.
* Seven drivers reported that the integrated system potentially prevented them from having a crash.
* Fifteen out of 18 drivers said they prefer a truck equipped with the integrated safety system and would recommend that their employers purchase such a system.
UMTRI’s key findings related to driver behavior include:
* In situations where there were multiple threats, the initial warning was generally enough to get the attention of drivers and resulted in an appropriate action when necessary.
* Drivers did a better job of maintaining their position in the lane with the integrated system.
* Overall, drivers responded more quickly to threats of a rear-end collision while the safety system was active than they did when the system was not active.
These findings indicate that integrated crash warning systems not only offer benefits relative to improved driver performance, but that a clear majority of commercial drivers involved in the study accepted the system and reported subjective benefits from the integrated system they used.