Braking specialists at Gough Transport Solutions understand that transport tasks in urban areas have a unique set of challenges for drivers to navigate. But they don’t have to do it alone, with assistance technology from WABCO now available.

In an industry well known for long distance heavy haulage, sometimes the short distance, local tasks are overlooked in favour of the big jobs with flashy prime movers. However, the last mile transport sector has been going through a substantial growth phase over recent years, one component experts are now actively working to service.

Global braking specialist WABCO has identified the sector as one ripe for new safety technology, to protect both the increasing numbers of vehicles, and a prevalent concern unique to urban jobs – pedestrians.

According to Steve Cuzzupe, Braking Product Manager at Gough Transport Solutions, WABCO’s TailGuard technology can identify objects such as people, parked cars or wheelie bins, and apply brakes independently of the driver if a collision is imminent.

“The WABCO TailGuard system uses input from the vehicle speedo and reverse lights together with ultrasonic sensors to detect objects in known blind spots,” Steve says.

“This can be used to complement the popular reverse cameras, which show the driver what is behind the vehicle but cannot actively brake without driver intervention. TailGuard adds that extra layer of protection.”

Now, on the streets of Melbourne, a Veolia waste truck boasts that added layer of safety, with a recently installed TailGuard system. According to Veolia Workshop Manager, Paul Weekes, the waste collection specialist is always looking for new technology to improve operator and community safety for its vehicles working in demanding environments.

“This particular vehicle does pick-ups all over Melbourne, down neighbourhood streets and city laneways, at all hours of the day and night,” says Paul. “People could be walking out of nightclubs into alleyways, or kids leaving for school early in the morning. The light is dim and people are unpredictable, so the TailGuard is like another set of eyes that pick up objects the driver’s eyes could miss.”

Steve explains that the system works by integrating with WABCO’s latest braking technology to slow a vehicle that is moving faster than nine km/h by pulsing the brakes, and bringing it to a complete stop automatically if it senses anything within a programmed distance of between 30cm and 200cm.

“The TailGuard system can be used in a large variety of truck applications, from delivery vans all the way up to heavy duty trucks – any vehicle with full air brakes – and it is automatically activated when the truck’s gearbox is shifted into reverse gear,” Steve says. “Outline marker lights at the rear of the truck start flashing, and warning signals sound, which can also be silenced for more considerate early morning garbage collections.”

The Veolia rear loader truck with TailGuard, delivered as recently as August, is something of a ‘trial unit’ for the waste transport company, with Paul indicating that the technology will be fitted on further vehicles pending review.

Working in the increasingly populated urban environment, Steve says WABCO’s technology can offer a extra risk management tool that makes the crowded transport task a safer one as the last mile sector continues to grow.

Source: Prime Mover Magazine