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Samsung‘s Smart Truck Gives Trailing Drivers a Clear View of the Road Ahead

Posted June 23, 2015

Trying to overtake a large 18-wheel truck is one of the most dangerous manoeuvres a driver can perform on the road – getting out from behind a large vehicle without being able to see the road ahead is a disaster in waiting.

A still from the Samsung Safety Truck technology demonstration.

A still from the Samsung Safety Truck technology demonstration.

To remedy the situation, Samsung has come up with a solution – why not mount a wireless camera on the front of a truck and 4 large LCD screens on the back? That way, the vehicle would capture the view of the road ahead and send it back to the screens, allowing following drivers to see if there‘s any oncoming traffic at the other end.

This view is enabled day and night, and is said to have the potential to significantly reduce overtaking accidents, as well as providing trailing drivers with information on road hazards well in time for them to react.

“Another advantage of the Safety Truck,” wrote the company on its official blog, “is that it may reduce the risk of accidents caused by sudden braking or animals crossing the road.”

Although the prototype – developed by a local business-to-business (B2B) client – is no longer operational, Samsung claims it has proven the usefulness of their new system on the roads of Argentina where the company performed extensive assessments.

“So far Samsung has been able to confirm that the technology works and that this idea can definitely save the lives of many people“.

Thanks to its many two-lane roads, Argentina has one of the highest rates of traffic accidents in the world –an unfortunate fact that the company used as inspiration for their new design.

Even though the system has been shown to be effective, a slew of additional safety tests await the Safety Truck before it is deemed appropriate for use on highways by road authorities. In this regard, Samsung is already working with the government and a number of NGOs to see it through.

As of today, no announcement has been made regarding when – or if – such a system will be made commercially available or at what cost.

Concerns related to the system’s reliability and manufacturing process abound – some worry that the screens and the camera could start malfunctioning under bad weather, while others claim the trucks may prove highly expensive due to the cost of the screens.

“The camera might be cheap and simple enough to install, but four displays per truck would be a major investment for any transport company to make, especially since it wouldn’t lead to any direct financial benefit,” said Vlad Savov writing for The Verge.

A more realistic solution to improving road safety could be provided by Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication (V2V) systems, expected to arrive in US cars next year. This will allow the vehicles to exchange information about their position, path and speed in real time, notifying drivers of unsafe driving or collisions ahead before they even had the time to react.

So for now, the Safety Truck remains just a concept – only time can tell whether this see-through vehicle will ever hit the public roads.


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