Accidents involving trucks turning right and cyclists often end in tragedy. Hamburg was shocked at the death of a 33-year-old cyclist in May, who presumably found herself in the so-called “blind spot” and was run over. According to accident studies conducted by insurers, an electronic truck turning assistant that warns the driver of the presence of a cyclist or pedestrian could prevent more than 60 per cent of all fatal accidents, or at least reduce their severity. Turning assistants are not yet mandatory in Germany. The EU is responsible for any legal regulation, and this will only take effect in 2022.
According to the daily Hamburger Abendblatt, the authorities decided in June that the city’s entire vehicle park and that of city-owned companies would have to be fitted with turning assistants in the near future from 3.5 tons upwards. Other Hamburg-based companies, including Luis Technologie GmbH, are working on preventing tragedies of this kind in the future: A truck turning assistant put on the market in early August is able to distinguish moving and static objects. This is an innovation, compared with systems that use ultrasound.
System distinguishes moving and static objects
Where turning assistants using ultrasound currently on the market are not able to distinguish moving from stationary objects, the system made by Luis makes use of a camera. By filtering out stationary objects like parked cars and traffic light masts, it stops frequent false alarms that could lull the driver into a false sense of security. An optical and acoustic alert occurs only in response to moving objects, such as pedestrians or cyclists. The turning assistant is automatically activated when the steering wheel is turned within a predetermined speed range. Only if danger looms is the driver alerted via a red box on the screen and an acoustic signal. Important to note: The system can be retrofitted to any utility vehicle. Hamburg-based hauliers Garbe are currently among the first companies to test the Luis Turn Detect.
Innovation made in Hamburg
Luis Technology GmbH was established in 1999 as a specialist in camera monitoring and driving assistance systems. The StreetScooters being used by a Deutsche Post DHL Group subsidiary for emission-free logistics have been fitted with reversing cameras from Luis. The company, with its headquarters in Hamburg-Hammerbrook, currently has a staff of 15. Its chief executives, Matthias Feistel and Martin Groschke, are participating in the Turning Assistant Campaign set up by German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer in July this year.
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