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UMTRI Completes Analysis of IVBSS Heavy-Truck Field Tests

September 8, 2010

A new report released by UMTRI researchers, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation and industry partners, presents the results of a year-long field test of an integrated system of crash warning technologies designed to enhance the safety of commercial trucks. The research is part of the Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) program.

The IVBSS program is a five-year, $32 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. DOT to test an integrated system of crash warning technologies designed to enhance the safety of passenger vehicles and commercial trucks. (Analysis of the passenger vehicle field tests is scheduled for release in October.) The advanced safety system combines several crash-warning subsystems that alert drivers to threats related to forward collision, lane departure, and lane-change crashes.

Eighteen commercial drivers from Con-way Freight participated in the heavy-truck field test by driving one of ten specially equipped, Class 8 tractors for ten months. In all, drivers in the study traveled 601,844 miles, made 22,724 trips, and generated 13,678 hours of data. While the test vehicles were driven, data acquisition systems recorded driver actions and responses to the integrated warning system.

UMTRI researchers, led by associate research scientist Jim Sayer and assistant research scientist Dave LeBlanc, analyzed the data to study the effect that the integrated warning system had on driver acceptance and changes in behavior.

Among the study's key findings, the majority of drivers perceived that the integrated crash warning system would increase driver safety, and it made them more aware of the traffic environment around their vehicle and their position in the lane. Fifteen out of eighteen drivers said they prefer a truck equipped with the integrated safety system and would recommend that their employers purchase such a system. To access the full report, see The Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems Heavy-Truck Field Operational Test, Key Findings Report.

Based on its experience with the study, Con-way Freight chose to invest in the new technologies for all new replacement units added to the fleet this yearラ-more than 1,300 Freightliner Cascadia Class 8 tractors.

"The insight we gained from the IVBSS study confirmed the feedback we got from our drivers--these technologies are ready for prime time and are effective at helping drivers avoid the most common instances of crashes involving commercial trucks," said Bob Petrancosta, Con-way vice president of safety. To read the full news release, visit the Con-way Freight website.

Additional program partners for the IVBSS commercial-truck research include Eaton Corporation, Takata Corporation, International Truck and Engine Corporation, and Battelle. Program funding was provided by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Public Meeting to Present Results
The U.S. Department of Transportation will present all of the results from the IVBSS field operational tests during a one-day public meeting at Eagle Crest Conference Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan on October 20, 2010. For more information or to register for the meeting, see IVBSS Public Meeting.

Pictured above: A commercial truck is instrumented with a collision alert system.

Photo courtesy of IVBSS program