Collisions between cyclists and trucks usually end tragically for the cyclist. Blind spot detection systems discover objects in the blind spot and warn the driver of possible dangerous situations. But there are crucial differences.

Reliable detection without false alarms

Blind spot detection systems are designed to detect cyclists and pedestrians who are in the immediate vicinity of a right-turning truck. In real-life situations, these are often in the blind spot and are therefore not visible in the rearview mirror of the vehicle.

Although ultrasonic-based systems detect objects in the critical area, they are not able to differentiate between static and moving objects. Often, therefore, it comes to false alarms, simply because the system has detected a road sign. Superior are radar-based systems, but these also have significant weaknesses.

Substantially added safety would require a solution that can distinguish a cyclist riding into the danger zone from other objects and virtually eliminate false alarms.

From recommendation to the European regulation

Hamburg-based LUIS Technology GmbH has been a well-known provider of camera monitor and electronic assistance systems for commercial vehicles since 1999. In 2015, the company was taken over by Matthias Feistel, Martin Groschke and Dr. med. Moritz Kübel.

The three former management consultants already knew each other from joint projects in corporate strategy and corporate development. LUIS was acquired at the end of 2015 with the goal of transforming a small company into something larger. Since then, the new owners invested heavily in staff, new products and the structure of the company.

An important project was the development of a new blind spot detection system for trucks, which was presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in September 2018. The system is legally protected, complies with the requirements of the BMVI recommendation and is the first system of its kind with a general operating permit (ABE).

The project was supported by a loan from the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank (IFB). In addition, there were participations and promotional loans from the Hamburg Beteiligungsgesellschaft (BTG).

Before the system was developed, a comprehensive driver survey was taken to gain important insights from the field. A major criticism of existing assistance systems of this kind were frequent false alarms, which led to the system eventually being ignored or even deactivated.

For this reason, the LUIS system does not rely on conventional ultrasound technology, but on video technology in conjunction with real-time image analysis. It is automatically activated and monitors the danger area to the right of the vehicle as soon as a turn is detected by activating the turn signal or turning the steering wheel.

70% of all fatal accidents caused by a collision of cyclists with trucks happen when the bike path is located behind a row of parked cars. In order to be able to detect partially hidden cyclists, the camera of the LUIS system is therefore mounted on the vehicle at a height of 2.2 to 4 m and detects a 6 to 7 m wide area to the right of the vehicle. In addition, the system can reliably distinguish between fixed objects and a moving cyclist and is, therefore, able to recognize with high reliability any possible danger situation.

The system was developed with the aim of distracting the driver as little as possible and limiting false alarms. It does not simply react to objects close to the vehicle but analyzes the camera’s video signal to detect dangerous situations. Depending on the hazard situation, either an optical or additionally an acoustic signal is triggered.

From recommendation to the European regulation

Blind spot detection systems are currently only a recommendation of the Federal Ministry of Transport. Their installation is financially supported. But already in 2022 the situation will change.

In 2022, a new European Union regulation will come into force requiring all new types of trucks to be equipped with a blind spot detection system. From 2024 this equipment will be required for each newly registered vehicle.

Blind spot detection
in Numbers

283
fatal accidents involving bicycles in Germany (2017)
80%
of all collisions with trucks are due to driver errors
70%
of all situations are not recognized by conventional blind spot detection systems

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