Jet engine blast demonstrates life-saving anti-rollover hitch
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.