We’ve all been there at some point or other: driving down a small, twisting single carriageway (two-lane highway) stuck behind a large truck struggling to get up the next hill. Wheezing to top speed of 30 mph at best, the truck soon builds up a snaking queue of traffic behind it, prompting some drivers to chance their luck with a risky overtaking manoeuvre.
Even with the best will and driving skills in the world, overtaking a large truck you can’t see past is dangerous at best and fatal at worse, claiming a large number of fatalities every year due to drivers being run off the road, hitting another car head on, or worse still, finding their car under the wheels of the truck being overtaken.
Even today’s most advanced cars, fitted with forward facing cameras, driver assistance packages and blind spot warning systems, can’t offer any help to overcoming this problem, but thanks to some lateral thinking at Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant has come up with a novel and effective solution: trucks you can literally see through.
Enter the Samsung Safety Trucks, a fleet of Samsung-branded delivery trucks now on the roads of Argentina, where the company claims nearly one person dies every hour in a road traffic accident — 80 percent of which are caused by someone trying to overtake on two-lane highways.
Using technology that has been around for years — digital video cameras, wireless communication and large-screen video monitors — the trucks capture the image of the road ahead via a small wide-angle camera mounted into the front bumper of the tractor unit, then beam it to the rear of the truck wirelessly, where a quartet of weather-proof, high-quality monitors display the view from the road ahead for following vehicles to see.
Being an electronics giant itself, Samsung has of course used in-house technology to bring its Safety Trucks to reality, but there’s no reason why this technology couldn’t be used on other vehicles in the future.
Indeed, thanks to improvements in both the cost and quality of large, waterproof monitors, we’re guessing the system could be fitted to any tractor trailer unit with suitably large doors.
Traditionally, the area on the back of a large trailer has been used for corporate advertising, but given the potential improvements in road safety that this technology could bring, we’re guessing that most haulage firms would be willing to entertain the possibility of using Samsung’s technology on their own vehicles, especially if it could help reduce major accidents and insurance premiums for their drivers.
Here at Transport Evolved, we welcome any technology which helps make driving cleaner, greener, safer or smarter, and we’re glad to see a clever, low-tech solution to a major problem that has the potential to save hundreds or even thousands of lives a year on the roads of the world.
But we feel it’s also prudent to point out while we understand the stress of being stuck behind a truck on a long hill — especially when you’re in a hurry — it’s never worth taking a risk for what usually ends up being a few minutes of your time. And when you’re following a big truck, remember to keep a healthy distance between yourself and the back of the truck — especially if you’re on two wheels. It helps make sure the truck driver can see you, and it makes it easier to stop or react if something happens suddenly.
After all, it’s better to be late than to be ‘The Late…’, right?
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