Pass With Care: Future Trucks to Preview Road Ahead?

A new concept in road safety gives drivers behind large trucks a picture of oncoming, making it easier to decide when to pass. A Russian designer named Art Lebedev has introduced plans for a system of cameras and projectors that would place an unobstructed picture of what the truck driver sees on the back of his truck/trailer.

A camera mounted at the front end of the truck will collect video of the traffic ahead. Properly equipped vehicles behind the truck receive the picture wirelessly, and project it on to the back of the truck via a built in projector.
This would be particularly helpful on hilly, curvy, two-lane roads where passing trucks can be particularly dangerous. As stated, this is still a concept, and has some hurdles to overcome it becomes a practical option. Even if we eventually see this idea executed on the roads of tomorrow, it can’t (and shouldn’t) replace common sense and caution when passing trucks on any road.

A method for projecting the image onto the truck’s rear end could be tricky and expensive. The image must be bright enough to be seen in daylight. It also needs to be in focus from the perspective of the following driver, at any distance. Another option might be an array of bright LED’s, mounted at the bottom left (or right) corner of the trailer door. A computer could process the images from the camera, and light the LED’s in different patterns. For example, a circle means “pass with caution”, and an X means “don’t pass”. It doesn’t provide as much information to the driver behind the truck, but seems like a much less expensive and more robust solution.

And what happens when the camera on the truck, or the projector on the trailing vehicle makes contact with an innocent bug at about 55mph? We all know they tend to cloud of a windshield pretty quickly.

If executed in a reliable and inexpensive way, this technology will be a positive addition to the trucks of tomorrow. As with any other automotive safety features, we can’t rely on it 100%. Caution and common sense can save your life. They are both free, but unfortunately don’t come standard on all drivers.

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