The German Minister for Transport Andreas Scheuer has approved a general operating license for a truck turning assistant by Luis Technology GmbH based in Hamburg. Dr. Matthias Feistel and Martin Groschke, Managing Directors, launched the assistant on the market last August. The operating approval coincides with a pilot project in Hamburg to equip vehicles with turning assistants. The assistant system comes amid rising numbers of fatal accidents involving trucks turning right and cyclists, according to statistics by Hamburg Ministry of the Interior and Sport. A total of 2,525 cyclists were involved in accidents in 2018 (February 2019) – a rise of almost 9 per cent over 2017. Last Tuesday (March 19, 2019), a 48-year-old cyclist in Hamburg became the latest victim after being caught in the blind spot of a turning truck.
Avoiding false alarms
Unlike other systems based on ultrasound, Luis’ “Turn Detect” operates with a camera and software that distinguishes between moving and static objects. The system filters out static objects such as parked cars or traffic light poles, and protects the driver from being caught unaware after too frequent false alarms. Groschke pointed out: “Luis is the first company on the market with which freight forwarders and local authorities, for instance, can now claim the requested federal subsidies.”
Hamburg launching pilot project
From March, the City of Hamburg is launching a six-month pilot of three available turning assistant systems including that of Luis Technology GmbH. Andy Grote, Senator of the Interior, commented: “We must make progress in equipping vehicles with turning assistants and cannot wait years before a mandatory introduction is regulated at EU level. We are continuing to expand bicycle traffic in Hamburg and we must ensure the safest possible framework conditions.” All of the available opportunities must be seized. Grote added: “We are laying the foundations for the fastest possible conversion of the city’s truck fleet with this pilot project, and are also focusing on the initial effect on the private sector to convince as many companies as possible to convert their fleets.”
A total of 18 vehicles with more than 3.5 metric tons, including those operated by public authorities, districts of Hamburg, Hamburg Wasser, the Stadtreinigiung and the Thalia Theater are to be equipped with the systems. Private companies including the Dachser and Bursped logistics companies are also taking part.