Why Purpose-Built Safety Technology Makes Sense

As customers continue to demand driver awareness, assistance, and autonomous features to improve safety — regulatory and societal pressure trends point to the expansion of OEMs offering these solutions as optional and standard features. Today, this expansion points in the direction of Radar sensors as one of the key solution elements.

Sensor adoption has been steadily growing within the automotive industry for over a decade — which is why it is no surprise many solutions available today, like camera and radar, are directly transferred from the automotive space and repurposed for heavy-duty applications. The problem with repurposed sensors is that such systems are often not flexible enough to support the unique use-cases of the different mounting and performance requirements found in the heavy-duty space.

When sensors are sourced from the automotive space and used in general heavy-duty equipment, like construction machines, cement mixers, and waste and utility trucks, they often lack standard flexible configurations, which end up costing more to modify than it would be to adopt configurable systems, like PRECO’s PreView® Radar

These repurposed systems may need to be heavily supported by the vehicle, and many times need in-depth integration with the vehicle’s CAN-bus — in addition, requiring a specific set installation point. Whereas PRECO purpose builds its sensors for these vehicles, with a rather large installation window, and support for easy integration with the vehicle’s CAN-bus. 

This is why the OEM and heavy-duty industries are beginning to look to purpose-built safety solutions tailored to their unique needs.

Understanding PRECO’s Purpose-Built Solutions

At PRECO, a Sensata company, our radar solutions are purpose-built from the ground up to address the specific problems and use-cases of the OEM and heavy-duty on- and off-road applications. As one of the only providers of such purpose-built solutions, our radar-based safety systems surpass repurposed automotive sensors in virtually every category. 

PreView Side Defender®II serves as one such example — ranked as the number one side turn assistance system by the ADAC testing service comparison conducted in the European Union (EU) in 2019.

PRECO designs, develops, and manufactures its radar systems from start to finish. This includes the hardware, data processing, and application software that provides the full function system application. In addition, we specialize in integrating our sensors with other systems including Camera Monitor System (CMS) / Human Machine Interface (HMI), vehicle control systems, and sensor fusion. Paired with the environmental and electrical hardening designed into each PreView Radar, PRECO solutions offer exceptional performance and flexibility in a package that can outlast the life of the equipment on which they’re installed.

All PRECO systems are tested to relevant international standards and approved for use in virtually all markets including North America, Europe, Japan, South Africa, Australia, India, and many others. 

PreView Side Defender®II And PreView Sentry®X Are Two Examples of PRECO’s Purpose-Built Systems

As incident rates involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and other VRU (Vulnerable Road User) and right turning trucks and busses in the EU, governments began demanding the improvement of on-road VRU protection and vehicle safety. 

Looking to reverse the increasing trends, Germany passed Abbiegeassistent (turn assist) requirements in 2019, calling all OEM and aftermarket medium and heavy-duty trucks install side-assistance sensors. To meet these new safety standards, PRECO’s engineering team improved upon our original PreView Side Defender® lane change technology — introducing the award-winning PreView Side Defender®II, one of PRECO’s latest purpose-built radar solutions. All of the EU has passed similar regulations called General Safety Regulations beginning in 2022.

Designed to address the VRU side blind spot incidents in crowded urban environments, the Side Defender®II filters out stationary objects while alerting the driver when there is a slow-speed moving object such as a bicyclist, to the side of the vehicle.

  • Fulfills all requirements and recommendations for Abbiegeassistent in the EU, according to the traffic journal of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)
  • TÜV certified
  • Rated number one side turn assistance system available in a 2019 comparison conducted by the ADAC testing service in the EU

As part of the Side Defender®II system, the PreView® v2 in-cab display equips operators with intuitive audible and visual alerts while offering flexible operational configurability and quick system installations.

PreView Sentry®X, is the most recent example of PRECO’s purpose-built solutions — designed to improve situational awareness for operators of large haul trucks. 

Using the award-winning PreView Sentry® platform, PRECO created Sentry®X with a narrow, horizontal field of view designed to support recessed and other unique installation points common on heavy-duty equipment. 

  • Includes the same adjustable detection zones in both range and width of the original Sentry system — meeting customer demands
  • Operates in the globally approved 200 MHz section of the 24 GHz RF band to support North America, Europe, India, and Japan along with the rest-of-the-world markets

Building Radar Safety Solutions for the Heavy-Duty, OEM Industries

Recognizing the broad and diverse safety needs of the heavy-duty equipment industry, PRECO has dedicated itself to creating specific solutions for the issues inherent to this market. 

 With the flexibility to define radar systems for existing equipment, bodybuilders, OEM X Factory machinery, and the aftermarket, PRECO’s sensor-rich systems embody the best features and functions for heavy-duty machines and vehicles.

The Advantage of Safety Systems for Fleet Service

As fleets continue to grow, effective safety solutions that are easy to operate and built to retrofit are integral to preventing incidents and minimizing downtime — all essential for the management, safety, and maintenance of fleets. Not only in terms of keeping both the public and drivers safe, but also in terms of controlling costs related to insurance and liability, unplanned downtime, and maintenance. Furthermore, improved fleet safety can lead to increased driver efficiency, return on investment, and higher overall productivity. All of which depend on the installed system and your fleet service technicians.

In the past, downtime has been a significant issue many fleets have faced, dealing with a slew of issues and inefficient turnaround time as trucks roll in and out of heavy-duty shops. As a fleet manager, your needs may be growing, but keeping your trucks on the road generating revenue continues to be the basis of most of your decisions.

The More Complex the System, the More Difficult to Maintain

Technology is becoming more sophisticated across vehicle class segments, and skills and parts to maintain them are incrementally growing more complicated and expensive. In some instances, pieces take longer to service or require the need for electronic diagnostics.

Many service agencies can solve these issues, but commercial vehicles are continuing to adopt more advanced systems, and they are not becoming less complicated. As more solutions enter the market, it is crucial to understand the functionality of each technology, how to combat issues and the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Thankfully, with more complex systems, like Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), automatic braking, or radar, it is up to OEMs and system manufacturers to vet their solutions.

What Do You Do About Safety System Issues?

Through the vetting process, OEMs and system manufacturers send personnel to train service technicians. Onsite they should teach the team about the installation process, everyday issues that may occur, and how to troubleshoot these issues before requesting onsite assistance.

If an issue does occur, and the trained service team is unable to solve the problem on their own, the first option would be to problem-solve remotely. Problem-solving processes are all very similar, but with the adoption of new technologies across the board, it can vary. However, for a majority of systems, troubleshooting remotely is the first step.

Through troubleshooting, manufacturers and OEMs can help service technician teams find new and efficient solutions to streamline processes. Gathering information prior can be tremendously helpful in speeding up the process of achieving minimal downtime. If troubleshooting doesn’t work, we get someone on site.

No matter the system, creating a platform in which drivers and service technicians can communicate system issues, establishes an open conversation about preventative maintenance. If you spec your trucks properly and develop awareness on both ends of the commercial vehicle and its systems demands, this is even more likely to occur.

Training & Education

The fleet industry changes rapidly, and so does the equipment fleets utilize. Understanding that to provide exceptional truck repair and maintenance, you must have the most experienced and certified group of technicians. Service technicians and shop mechanics are puzzle-solving, safety-ensuring, motor-skilled, innovation-focused professionals specializing in creating a better fleet experience for all those involved. For them, service comes first – so understanding how systems work and how to deal with any issues, should they arise, is a top priority for every team.

Training and education continue to be instrumental in heavy-duty shop success, especially as more and more safety systems are installed and required in the future. Implementing training programs and educational opportunities for fleet service technicians are both great value propositions heavy-duty shop managers should consider.

So, when it comes to training, you have to decide which systems you want to be able to support. Get in contact with truck manufacturers and the safety system manufacturers to find out how you and your team can become certified field technicians. By learning how these systems work, and staying ahead of technology trends, you and your team can provide the best value service.

Which Piece of the Service Pie do You Choose?

Over the last few decades, it has become apparent that by adding intelligent technologies to the existing real-time monitoring infrastructure, fleets can continue to deliver, reducing risk, minimizing downtime, and significantly boosting productivity.

Advancements in technology are improving the safety functions and features of all vehicles. However, they are still only as safe as the driver behind the wheel. It was not long ago when these systems weren’t available, and drivers had to rely on their sensory-motor skills to operate heavy-duty machinery safely.

 When choosing a system, operators preferred to have a removable or standalone solution. Standalone meaning if the system is not integrated into critical components, and is something you can turn off or take out without it affecting the operation of the vehicle. Meaning operations do not come to a halt if a safety system is down, allowing drivers to continue on their route without having to pull over immediately to call a service professional. For positive adoption, using standalone systems seems to be a great option.

Today, some safety systems are critical, and some are must-haves. Over time, safety systems have matured and become more reliable, requiring less service. Although this may be initially concerning, the truth of the matter is that skilled service professionals are always going to be needed. They are an essential part of maintenance and rest assured, the more complex the system, the more vital the service technician. Even with the future of automation on the horizon, technicians and mechanics are going to continue to hold a required skill set even when drivers may eventually not.

Preventative Maintenance

To avoid an incident or damage to keep costs and time in the shop to a minimum, you have to take preventative actions. PRECO’s radar solutions are the ticket, especially for those looking for solutions that can withstand harsh weather and environments without needing to replace expensive parts. Durability should play a huge factor in your decision making when adopting solutions for your fleet.

Time in the shop means money lost, and advanced safety system radars, like the PreView family and vision systems, are designed to help prevent those expensive layaway periods. Although the price differentiation between safety systems can be off-putting, the cost of a single incident – which can never be predicted but are entirely avoidable – proving ROI. With the more advanced systems out in the market today, downtime can keep to a minimum with substantial training and a reliable shop crew.