Take a hands-off ap­proach

Next-level tech may enable driv­ers to re­lax and take their eyes off the road in heavy, slow-mov­ing traf­fic

Herald Sun - Motoring - - WORKING WHEELS - JAMES STAN­FORD james.stan­ford@news.com.au

TRUCK driv­ers would be able to watch movies and check their emails in heavy traf­fic if Sca­nia has its way.

The Swedish com­pany and its owner, Volkswagen Group, have re­vealed what is called Traf­fic Jam Pi­lot to take con­trol of the rig in heavy traf­fic.

Sca­nia says it is part of a re­search pro­ject and has not dis­cussed when it might be fit­ted to road­go­ing ve­hi­cles. Leg­is­la­tion cov­er­ing the use of elec­tronic de­vices while driv­ing would need to be amended.

Traf­fic Jam Pi­lot uses radar, the same tech­nol­ogy em­ployed in lead­ing lux­ury pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles for adap­tive cruise con­trol. Sca­nia takes the con­cept fur­ther. The pi­lot takes over only in heavy, stop-slow traf­fic, con­trol­ling brakes, ac­cel­er­a­tor and steer­ing.

It fol­lows lane mark­ings or the ve­hi­cle in front if there are no vis­i­ble lines.

Sca­nia says this en­ables the driver to look away from the road to check for email, for ex­am­ple. An iPad app runs in the back­ground while the driver views a movie or email.

Sca­nia says the app re­lays in­for­ma­tion to driv­ers about what is go­ing on in ahead of the truck as they re­lax. The pi­lot hands back con­trol to the driver when the truck reaches 50km/h.

Sca­nia be­lieves it isn’t dan­ger­ous. “We have thor­oughly tested this con­cept with driv­ers and found that the sit­u­a­tional aware­ness is equal. In other words driv­ers had the same traf­fic aware­ness as in nor­mal driv­ing,” says Sca­nia de­signer Daniel Rick­nas.

Call off the jam: Sca­nia’s auto-pi­lot brakes and steers the truck in start-stop traf­fic — driv­ers can check emails or watch movies

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