How LiDAR Technology Advances Trucking Safety
Trucking is a lifeline between consumers and products. The logistics industry helps transit everything from essential items like medicine to Amazon prime products. Yet, one of the leading causes of mass-casualty highway accidents are those involving trucks and freighters.
Though many truckers are highly trained, sometimes the negligence of other drivers in cars and other vehicles can result in an unavoidable disaster. Other factors, such as weather, truck maintenance, and road distractions are also commonly at play.
LiDar technology can prevent accidents by enabling autonomous trucks and smart highways. Read on to discover how LiDAR technology is helping make transportation safer and more efficient.
LiDAR Vision and Autonomous Trucks
LiDAR technology, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, uses laser technology to gather a 3D data model around a vehicle in real time. This data allows autonomous vehicles to sense their surroundings at all times by allowing them to “see” objects such as pedestrians, cars, and road construction.
Since the blind-spots in trucks are much larger, big rigs require stronger perception sensors in greater quantities. The concept of “perception” as it pertains to LiDAR technology involves the ability to sense other vehicles, as well as lane markers, traffic lights and signs, accidents, and countless other road features.
The main challenge when using LiDAR technology in trucking is ensuring that the driver has an ample Field of View for any range of potential hazards. Now, a mix of long-range and short-range 360-degree LiDAR sensors are mounted on the mirrors of vehicles, typically with careful attention needed for larger vehicles that are subject to higher-impact loads.
The rollout of 5G will increase LiDAR technology’s latency, or processing speed, making the 3D data model even more accurate. This is one of the main reasons why 5G’s rollout is paving the way for fully autonomous vehicles.
Roadside LiDAR Sensors and Smart Highways
Lower latency in LiDAR technology isn’t just improving car sensors, it’s making road sensors more accurate too. Smart highways will collect weather data and crash data in real time, and update the surrounding vehicles to changing road conditions ahead.
Having real-time route data will allow truck drivers to anticipate challenges and better operate their large vehicles. Winter driving is a particular challenge for freight, but more accurate road data will allow drivers to know when it’s safe to drive on highways or provide alternative routes.
How LiDAR Tech Can Reduce Truck Accidents
The impacts of LiDAR technology on the transportation industry will be wide-reaching. While critics argue that some changes, such as autonomous vehicles, could put jobs at risk, it’s more likely that the driver’s role will be transformed in the years to come.
Today, large trucks cause 46% more accidents than cars on highways. Safety, which has been a long-running and devastating issue in the trucking industry, will improve — which is good news for truck drivers, other road passengers, and consumers.
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