U.S. DOT awards collision prevention technology grants

The United States Department of Transportation has awarded Eaton a $6.7 million contract as part of a $31.6 million program to develop technologies to help drivers avoid crashes.

The Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems Program Field Operational Test is a four-year program that will develop technologies to warn drivers when they are about to leave the road, are in danger of colliding with another vehicle or are at risk of colliding with the vehicle in front of them. Five automotive and commercial vehicle suppliers, including Visteon, AssistWare Technology, Honda R&D Americas, Battelle, and the Michigan Department of Transportation will be brought together to develop and test the new crash warning system.

Eaton will use its $6.7 million contract to develop the integrated system for the commercial vehicle portion of the IVBSS program. To do this, Eaton will combine lane-departure warning technology, which uses camera-based vision and image processing, with its radar-based technology.

The integrated system is expected to prevent conflicting warnings and reduce false alarms and unintended consequences, such as causing a road departure crash while trying to prevent a rear-end crash. Located inside the vehicle, a driver-vehicle interface unit will relay this information from both the radar-based and lane departure technologies to the driver, helping prevent crashes.

“By combining these technologies into one integrated system, we will increase the safety benefits of collision warning systems for both consumers and fleet operators alike,” said Roderick Jones, business unit manager of Eaton’s vehicle solutions business unit.

The technology will be available after a two-year design phase and a year-and-a-half to two-year testing phase, said Jeff Barylak, marketing manager for the vehicle solutions business. Right now, the program is focused exclusively on over-the-road, long-haul vehicles, he said. The company hasn’t determined whether the technology will be adapted for the construction industry.