Anyone who has been faced with a slow-moving heavy vehicle on a two-way road will know it isn’t always easy to gather enough forward vision to choose the best time to overtake - particularly on winding roads.
Conversely, overtaking a road train in the outback without exceeding the speed limit can also present a prolonged moment of danger. And at night, car drivers in the outback are pretty much relying on road train drivers to signal them when it’s safe to pass.
Samsung aims to make the act of overtaking safer, by projecting an image of the road ahead on the tailgate of a truck’s trailer.
Forward-facing cameras mounted to the truck record the view of the road ahead as seen by the truck driver and wirelessly transmit it to the tailgate.
Following drivers can then see ‘through’ heavy vehicles, giving them a much clearer idea of when it may be safe to overtake.
Also, as the camera can see whatever the truck driver can see, the image on the tailgate can also forewarn following vehicles of wildlife or other hazards on the road ahead - and Samsung says it works night or day.
The concept is simply called ‘Safety Truck’, and has been trialled in South America. As Samsung deemed this trial a success, the next logical act could be to roll it out around the world.
But the tech company faces two potential hurdles in some countries: truck companies and local road rules.
Trucking companies probably aren’t going to be keen to invest in the technology unless they are forced to, and road laws may need to be altered to allow for the image to be displayed on a truck trailer while driving.
Some Australian states have outlawed television images (DVDs to amuse children, for example) from being displayed in moving cars if they can be seen by following vehicles, so it remains to be seen how authorities will react to the idea of a ‘big screen’ on the back of a truck trailer.
Watch this space.
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