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Volvo adding proximity sensors to buses for pedestrian detection

Volvo to launch new sensor-based monitoring system

Volvo Buses unveiled the first pedestrian and cyclist detection system for the bus industry. Launching at the IAA in Hannover, Germany, the system will be on Volvo’s European city bus fleet in 2017.

“Accidents involving buses and unprotected road-users seldom occur, but when they do the consequences may be very serious,” said Peter Danielsson, director of vehicle features and safety at Volvo Buses. “In order to minimize the risks, it is important that drivers and anyone moving around near buses – such as at bus stops and pedestrian crossings – pays close attention to the traffic. In this context the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System offers excellent support,”

source: Volvo
source: Volvo

The Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System continuously monitors the bus’s vicinity using a camera. When the system detects unprotected road-users near the bus, it transmits a sound to warn other road-users that the bus is approaching. At the same time, the driver is alerted via sound and light signals inside the vehicle. If there is an imminent risk of an incident, the bus’s horn is activated.

“Several of the components in our system are based on the same tried and tested technology found in many cars. But we are the only vehicle manufacturer to offer a solution that simultaneously notifies both driver and unprotected road-user,” said Danielsson.

Providing the noise for quiet vehicles

Volvo Buses’ introduction of this type of warning system is part of the company’s “electromobility drive.” As the proportion of electrified vehicles in urban traffic continues to grow, exhaust fumes and noise continue to disappear. With less noise comes less warning, so the company believes it to be important to eliminate any risks that might arise as vehicles in urban environments continue to operate much more quietly.

“The bus can be heard – but without being disruptive,” said Danielsson. “We’ve solved this problem by developing a synthetic background sound with a frequency range that is not perceived as disruptive. For instance, it does not penetrate windows with triple glazing, unlike the low-frequency noise made by a diesel engine.”

source: Volvo
source: Volvo

This autumn, the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System will become operational in field tests on route 55 in Gothenburg. At IAA the new system will be unveiled together with several other Volvo safety innovations, such as Volvo Dynamic Steering, Collision Warning and Emergency Braking and Lane Keeping Support.

Overview of Volvo’s Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System for buses

  • Introduced on Volvo’s city buses for Europe in 2017.
  • Consists of a camera, image-processing system and algorithms for detection of pedestrians and cyclists. Driver alert with light and sound signals. External synthetic background sound, amplifier and speaker.
  • Meets the minimum noise level demands that will be introduced for electrified vehicles in the EU in 2019.
  • At speeds below 50 km/h, a bus running on electricity is far quieter than a diesel-powered bus. At higher speeds, most of the noise is caused by friction between the tyres and road surface.
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