Automotive

Volvo's 360° view technology aimed at making accidents a thing of the past

Volvo's 360° view technology a...
Project 360° is developing a system for integrating data from a suite of onboard sensors
Project 360° is developing a system for integrating data from a suite of onboard sensors
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Carl Johan Almqvist, Volvo Trucks' Traffic and Product Safety Director
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Carl Johan Almqvist, Volvo Trucks' Traffic and Product Safety Director
Project 360° provides a complete view of a vehicles immediate vicinity every 25 milliseconds
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Project 360° provides a complete view of a vehicles immediate vicinity every 25 milliseconds
Project 360° aims at aiding trucks in vision-restricting situations
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Project 360° aims at aiding trucks in vision-restricting situations
Trucks have notoriously restricted fields of view
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Trucks have notoriously restricted fields of view
Project 360° is developing a system for integrating data from a suite of onboard sensors
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Project 360° is developing a system for integrating data from a suite of onboard sensors
Project 360° provides the drivers with escape routes to avoid collisions
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Project 360° provides the drivers with escape routes to avoid collisions

Driver assistance technologies are becoming more common and more sophisticated with each passing year, but despite this, their function is still to reduce accidents rather than eliminate them – at least, for now. Volvo's project 360° is going the whole hog with a new technology that the Swedish car maker believes has the potential to eliminate deaths and injuries by a Volvo car or truck by 2020.

Project 360° is the culmination of the four-year Non-Hit Car and Truck project, which is a Swedish collaborative project between the academic and business sectors that is slated to end in December. Volvo says that the 360° system acts as a virtual co-driver by using a suite of discrete sensors to provide comprehensive 360° coverage of the immediate area around the car every 25 milliseconds and can predict events, including the paths of moving objects, up to five seconds ahead.

Based on new and existing technologies, the key to this is new centralized Sensor Fusion framework that allows data from radar, cameras, lidar, GPS and other sensors to be shared efficiently. This system not only has the ability to detect threats that may be invisible to the driver, but can also give suggestions on alternative courses of action to take to avoid collisions, as well as providing auto steering and braking if the driver doesn't respond.

Project 360° provides the drivers with escape routes to avoid collisions
Project 360° provides the drivers with escape routes to avoid collisions

The 360° system is not only aimed at consumer passenger vehicles, but commercial cargo haulers as well. The technology is particularly attractive because trucks have notoriously restricted fields of vision; especially in confined urban settings.

Though the basic idea is the same, applying it to trucks is not simply a matter of scaling up. According to Volvo, trucks present their own peculiar problems that need to be solved before the technology is practical. For example, being larger and often requiring more complex gear shifts, trucks can't perform the sort of sudden maneuvers that a passenger car is capable of. In addition, they come in a wide variety of sizes and carry loads that vary greatly in weight and distribution from trip to trip. This means that a truck-specific version of 360° will require further developments before becoming practical.

Project 360° aims at aiding trucks in vision-restricting situations
Project 360° aims at aiding trucks in vision-restricting situations

Volvo says that the 360° technology is still in the testing phase and probably won't be deployed for about five to 10 years. Toward this end, the company has built and is currently evaluating a pair of prototype vehicles.

"We have the main components in place, but we need to do a lot more testing in order to make sure that the system is fault-free," says Carl Johan Almqvist, Volvo Trucks' Traffic and Product Safety Director. “If we manage to solve these challenges, a future without truck [and car] accidents is within reach."

The video below shows the 360° technology applied to trucks.

Source: Volvo

Volvo Trucks - New technology prevents accidents by making trucks “more human”

4 comments
Mel Tisdale
Good as this system potentially appears to be, what is really needed is for all manufactures to be working to a unified standard for achieving its goal of zero accidents. E.g. it is no good having V2V communication if it only works between vehicles produced by the same manufacturer. There will come a time when such systems will be required by law, which will mean retro-fitting them in whole or in part to the existing fleet. This will be best facilitated if there are standards in place so that cars can be built today that are 'safety system ready' making the retro-fitting process simply a matter of plugging in the kit's components. (Obviously, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to allow them to take control of the vehicle, as is the case with the Volvo system being discussed here.) An added benefit will mean that economies of scale should reduce the costs to individual owners and thus in turn reduce the number and strength of any objections that they might raise. It would be nice to read that Volvo, along with the other manufactures and highways agencies, are collaborating with the intent of producing a set of standards for these systems. I suppose it would be asking too much for all nations to also adopt the same legal requirements, making the task all the easier.
Stuart Wilshaw
Unified standards will come and probably quicker for the automotive industry than the electronics industry in general. The major electronics companies have only this year (2014) got round the table to decide on standards for 'The Internet of Things.'
Stephen N Russell
Hey Volvo, lisc & produce for other car makers too Or retrofit add on.
Eletruk
Reminds me of a video they had demonstrating their "City Safety" feature: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jClxcSBNwcw