Automotive

Jet engine blast demonstrates life-saving anti-rollover hitch

Jet engine blast demonstrates ...
A rendering of Axicle's anti-rollover decoupling plate in action
A rendering of Axicle's anti-rollover decoupling plate in action
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A rendering of Axicle's anti-rollover decoupling plate in action
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A rendering of Axicle's anti-rollover decoupling plate in action

An innovative trailer attachment plate designed to prevent injury and death among truck drivers has proven itself in the face of a roaring jet engine. For its latest demonstration, Axicle has shown how its sensor-loaded fifth-wheel plate can quickly jettison a tipping trailer being blown over by immense winds from a jet engine, as it continues to gather funding ahead of extensive road testing.

We learned of Axicle's smart solution for truck rollover accidents last year, with the Californian outfit looking to cut into the 9,000 or so injuries and deaths they cause in the US each year. These incidents can take place as the result of winds, collisions with other road users or excessive cornering speeds, and see the trailer dangerously pull the front cabin section onto its side as it rolls over.

The company's fifth-wheel coupling plate is equipped with a Tractor Anti-Roll System (TARS), which features an inertial measurement unit and sensors to detect information on coupling, vibration and wind, and engage a release mechanism if a rollover incident is detected. In the space of a millisecond, it can detach the trailer from the back of the truck and keep the cabin (and driver) in the upright position.

To demonstrate just how well it can do this in response to tremendous winds, Axicle brought in a Boeing 777 jet engine and pointed it directly at a semi-trailer, at a right angle. The truck was able to withstand these forces for a few moments, before the trailer detached and slammed onto its side, with the cabin remaining safely in place.

Axicle founder Steve Krug tells us this full-scale version has been tested on the road over around 100 miles (160 km), with the company now eyeing a US$5-million funding round to set up manufacturing later in the year for the approximately 9,000 units requested so far. He plans to test the technology over "hundreds of thousands if not millions of road miles," before delivering the company's first units.

Check out the jet demonstration below.

Semi Truck vs. Boeing 777 Engines | Axicle TARS Fifth Wheel Jet Test

Source: Axicle

14 comments
14 comments
guzmanchinky
VERY cool. I guess I've never thought about this but it makes a lot of sense.
CAVUMark
I never knew you could be a professional tractor trailer blower overer...
Funkgroover
I had no idea that this was such a common occurrence. In 50 years I have seen one rollover in the UK and three in the USA (where I have only spend a few cumulative weeks). Maybe the problem is in the truck design or road speeds?

But am I the only one who thinks that looking at the driver as a commodity (the driver and their rig are 75% of the value......) is a little strange?
robertswww
Ok, this should work well as long as the semi is traveling in the right-hand lane and the wind is coming from the left-hand side (or vice-versa). But if the big rig is travelling in another lane (such as the middle lane) and there are passenger cars beside the truck, this could potentially wipe-out whole families of multiple vehicles. They should install some sort of safety sensor that will not disengage the trailer if other vehicles are traveling alongside and downwind from the big rig.
moreover
In the Colorado front range we have roads where trailers are frequently tipped over, in fact I just drove past three tipped trucks on Route 93 after the Dec 30th chinook 105mph winds that ignited a firestorm which destroyed almost 1200 structures in Boulder County. I'm just not sure what took the industry so long to come up with a solution.
noteugene
Well, if the drivers were to not drive too fast around corners there would be no reason to jettison then. Sure, it's an improvement for the truck driver but when cargo is released, it's a danger to others. Undoubtedly, they are going to kill someone else.
Username
@robertswww Not having the device means both trailer and cab roll over.
Ornery Johnson
As others have mentioned, seems like a good idea but potentially endangers nearby motorists. Should add steel cables that tether the trailer to the rig so that the trailer is is allowed to separate and flip, but is largely prevented from going sideways into nearby/oncoming traffic.
Dave Crane
Most of those injuries are from the trailer falling on cars and other vehicles. While this may help prevent driver injury, I'm not sure I see it preventing anyone else from getting injured in a trailer rollover.
Spud Murphy
As robertswww said, this is never going to get on the market because it can dump a trailer on top of any vehicle travelling next to the truck. No road transport authority is going to approve such a device unless it is 100% foolproof and designed to not release unless the area next to the truck is clear.

Of course, the simpler solution to this is to just get the trucking industry to stop travelling danger zones on days of high forecast wind. Alternatively, design half-height trailers and a loading system for them that eliminate the issue. It's not that hard...
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