Published on: May 03, 2017

Eliminates natural blind spots on heavy earthmoving equipment by providing 360° view all around the machine

In the trucking industry, preventing collisions resulting from operational blind spots has been a high priority in recent years and consequently certain collision mitigation systems were rapidly adopted for use. However, it is the automotive industry that has been leading the way in object detection and collision prevention systems with the induction of integrated camera and radar technology. It is this technology that the heavy duty construction equipment industry has adopted and is making rapid strides in ensuring a much safer operational environment. According to Sean Martell, North America mining and construction sales manager, PRECO Electronics, “This technology is mainstream in the automobile world and I see it becoming more mainstream on heavy equipment very soon.”

Cameras offer the most basic security

The most advanced multi-camera systems offer a full 360° view around a vehicle. In order to check collisions, such camera technology has been widely adopted by the automotive industry for smaller vehicles and then for huge trucks. When it comes to large earthmovers, there are inherently some operational blind spots in almost every machine and the number of such drawbacks can vary depending on the type and make of the equipment. This drawback can be checked to a certain extent with the most basic backup cameras but the heavy duty construction equipment industry has adopted systems offering multiple cameras that allow operators to scroll between viewing screens.

Smart systems are better than single dimension solutions

Henry Morgan, director and CEO, Brigade Electronics, says, “To reduce accidents, object detection must become mainstream and will as the quality of products and their ability to address different risk scenarios improves. Systems will definitely become more intelligent and reliable; better camera detection of moving objects/people/cyclists and linking of cameras to detection devices, as well as RFID and CAN bus, will result in effective collision avoidance.” Here, there are voices of caution like Matt McLean, product manager, Volvo Construction Equipment, who says, “No operator should use only one safety feature in lieu of the others. Cameras, mirrors and object detection technologies are designed to be used together. However, new technologies alone do possess the power to significantly improve site safety.”

Radar technology is the best option

In addition to cameras, there are other options like ultrasonic and radar technologies that are smarter. “The problem with ultrasonic technologies is that they are short range and fail if covered by dirt, mud, snow or ice,” says Morgan of Brigade Electronics. However, it is radar that is proving to be the smartest and most robust. According to Martell of PRECO Electronics, “Pulse and FMCW radar are far more accurate in adverse weather conditions than ultrasonic or laser technology. Radar is capable of penetrating hazards through severe conditions that the other two technologies are not capable of doing. Radar is also much more robust, because the technology is solid-state electronics, and therefore does not have moving parts inside the sensor like that of ultrasonic sensors.”