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Volvo has made a collision warning system with emergency braking available for its new FH Series trucks to help reduce or prevent severe accidents caused by driver inattention.

The Volvo Trucks-developed Collision Warning with Emergency Brake is an advanced emergency braking system aimed at addressing rear-end collisions by alerting drivers to potential risks, with the intention of helping them avoid or mitigate an impact.

The Volvo system – designed to deal with both stationary and moving vehicles – combines both a radar and a camera to identify and monitor vehicles in front at speeds of up to 70km/h.

When the system detects a vehicle in the truck’s path it will hit at its current speed, the warning system activates a constant red light in the windscreen to alert the driver and bring their attention back to the road. If no reaction from the driver is detected, such as steering or braking inputs, the system increases to a flashing red light and a beeping sound.

If there is still no reaction, the system first applies the brakes gently before activating the emergency braking system that will do everything possible to bring the truck to a complete stop.

Volvo FH Series Truck

Volvo Trucks’ traffic and product safety director, Carl Johan Almqvist, said while in the vast majority of cases the initial warning signals will attract the driver’s attention, in the rare case they don’t the emergency braking system will still help prevent a serious accident.

The key problem he points out, however, is inattention. “If you watched the traffic ahead of you the whole time, you wouldn’t need systems like these,” he said.

In Europe, advanced emergency braking systems (AEBS) will be a legal requirement on new 3.5-tonne-plus trucks from November 2013 and on all new heavy vehicles (over 4.5 tonne) by November 2015 following an announcement by the European Commission.

According to a report by NRMA Motoring and Services, these AEBS requirements should be implemented locally one year after their European adoption.