Heavy vehicle drivers gain additional assistance in protecting vulnerable road users in city environments with Sideguard Assist
As part of its range of safety assistance systems for heavy commercial vehicles, including the fully-integrated Sideguard Assist for trucks, Mercedes-Benz and Setra are now also offering sideguard assist as a retrofit system for almost all trucks, buses and coaches made by the two brands.
Sideguard assist is mainly for the protection of the most vulnerable road users, including cyclists and pedestrians as well as those riding electric scooters. Especially in city traffic, such systems help truck and bus drivers to carry out their highly responsible and difficult job.
Turning in the near-side direction is amongst the most difficult and risky tasks which a truck or bus driver has to carry out. Not only do they have to look ahead for traffic lights, signs, oncoming and crossing traffic, but they also have to keep an eye on any road users who may be alongside the vehicle on the near side. And that’s without taking into account the weather or the time of day. Moreover, the traffic situation can change in seconds. What’s more, pedestrians and cyclists alongside the vehicle are not always aware of the fact that a truck or bus driver may not even be able to see them. Yet it is these unprotected road users in particular who are most at risk of being involved in a collision.
Sideguard assist can make an important contribution here. For example, accident research carried out by insurance companies anticipates around half of all accidents between trucks and cyclists being avoidable in conjunction with such a system. The number of associated fatalities can ideally be reduced by almost one third, and the number of serious injuries by more than 40 percent.
Ahead of regulations
Sideguard assist for trucks will only be a requirement in the EU from 2022 for new vehicle models and two years later for all existing model series. For newly registered long trucks, sideguard assist will already be a requirement in Germany from July this year.
In 2016, Mercedes-Benz Trucks presented the world’s first sideguard assist for that was fully-integrated into the vehicle architecture and since then has successively introduced it in its various truck model series. And it’s in high demand: in Germany today, more than every second Actros is delivered with Sideguard Assist ex works.
Just one year later, Sideguard Assist celebrated its début for coaches in a Setra. In the meantime, it is also available in a range of buses and coaches from both Mercedes-Benz and Setra. The proportion here is as high as 60 percent depending on the model series, and it’s a growing trend. In offering sideguard assist for retrofitting, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Buses and Setra are now expanding the offer.
How it works
The centrepiece of the system involves two close-range radar sensors on the frame along the nearside, in front of the truck’s rear axle. They cover a complete lane, 3.75m in width, along the complete length of a tractor/trailer combination measuring 18.75 metres plus two metres to the front and up to one metre to the rear of the vehicle.
Sideguard Assist issues multi-stage visual warnings using an LED in triangular form in the A-pillar or a triangular warning symbol in the MirrorCam display on the co-driver’s side as well as acoustically on that same side to draw the driver’s attention to moving or stationary objects on the co-driver’s side. One significant aspect is that the system also takes into account the sweep curve of the trailer or semitrailer and, here too, warns of the risk of a collision with stationary obstacles such as traffic lights or streetlights.
Surround view for older vehicles
If it is not possible to retrofit Sideguard Assist on older vehicles or for technical reasons, the camera-based “SurroundView” assistance system can help the driver to maintain an overview in critical situations. This system can be retrofitted in all Mercedes-Benz trucks. It shows the driver the vehicle surroundings on a 7-inch display and, by providing an improved all-round view, can contribute towards reducing the risk of collision when turning or manoeuvring.
The driver can either toggle between different cameras using a button, or can have them shown automatically using defined control signals (triggers). The screen can be divided into several views in split screen mode. Thus, when turning off into another road or manoeuvring, drivers have a much better view of their surroundings.