Ultrasonic object detection systems

31 Jan 2023

Ultrasonic object detection systems

By Emily Hardy, UK Marketing Manager, Brigade Electronics UK Ltd

Ultrasonic object detection systems have helped drivers to become more aware of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. However, less innovative devices simply make HGV drivers aware of objects, not whether there is any danger of a collision.  

This means that alerts may sound at frequent intervals when there is no risk - especially when driving through built up and highly populated areas. A driver can become irritated by these false alerts and if they fail to select their indicators, the warning system will not trigger an alert.  

Repetitive misleading alerts can also cause drivers to lack confidence in the device and become complacent to the possibility of risk. This could cause them to be slow to react, increasing the level of danger to vulnerable road users.  

The last version of the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) recommended a system that could be on all the time, regardless of indicator selection, but a product was not available on the market that could meet this objective without creating driver overload and false alerts.

Brigade Electronics set about to create a solution. Supported by the Knowledge Transfer Partnership initiative – which encourages collaboration between businesses and universities – and Cambridge University, the aim was to develop a cost-effective and reliable collision detection system that could intelligently discriminate between potential collisions and false alerts, helping to accurately warn the driver and provide sufficient time for intervention.

Infrastructure services company FM Conway had been searching for a detection system that could be permanently activated, and would reduce the amount of false positives their drivers were receiving. FM Conway trialled our Sidescan®Predict for six months and received extremely positive reviews from their drivers, who noticed a significant reduction in the risk of collisions with vulnerable road users and static objects.  

Utilising artificial intelligence technology (AI), Sidescan®Predict constantly gathers information, differentiates static objects like road furniture from moving objects, and gathers data such as the speed and distance of a cyclist or pedestrian in the vicinity of the vehicle. Feeding this data into an algorithm created by us, the device accurately gauges the risk of a collision and instantly alerts the driver in time for them to act.  

The device is always on below 30km/h, and, vitally, is active whether the driver uses their indicators or not. The system comprises six sensors, which have a detection area of 2.5 metres, further reducing the risk of fatalities by 84%, compared to other systems on the market which detect between 1 and 1.5m.  With the three-step alert level, combining audible and visual alarms, there are minimal false alarms, meaning the driver can be confident in its accuracy and take the necessary action to avoid an incident.  

Sidescan®Predict has now been provided with a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recognised accreditation as an effective road safety product.

A first for the business, it is a tremendous accolade and testament to the hard work of the Brigade team in developing an effective safety solution to protect vulnerable road users, and one which meets the stringent requirements of the DVSA.

The DVSA only recognises products they truly deem a safety product and one that significantly improves the safety of road users of all types. This accreditation puts Brigade’s Sidescan®Predict among an exclusive club of vehicle safety products.

“To achieve DVSA recognition is a great achievement and one of which we are incredibly proud”, says Brigade’s UK Marketing Manager, Emily Hardy. “The team have been working extremely hard to ensure the Sidescan®Predict system is as effective as possible in reducing the risk to vulnerable road users, and this is a great recognition for both the product and Brigade.”