Published: 24 March 2021

Automation improves safety in critical driving situations

As part of the €4.9M TrustVehicle project – aimed at building trust in autonomous vehicles – Surrey has recently demonstrated that automation can make reverse parking of articulated heavy duty vehicles safer, and quicker.

The three-year TrustVehicle project is funded by the European Commission and brings together a range of key European automotive industry players in addition to Surrey (the only academic partner). The main aim of the project is to increase reliability and trustworthiness of semi-autonomous vehicles by developing advanced technical solutions capable of assessing critical situations in mixed traffic scenarios, and even under harsh weather conditions – thereby improving safety.

Surrey’s contribution to the project, led by Scientific Coordinator and Principal Investigator of TrustVehicle Dr Ahu-Ece Hartavi Karci of Surrey’s Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, has focused on the challenges of reverse parking of heavy-duty articulated vehicles. 

Dr Hartavi Karci explained:

“Research shows that in Europe, the probability of a truck-trailer crashing during a reverse parking manoeuvre is more than one in 3,000, which leads to financial losses of over €1M a year. In addition to struggling with limited visibility and unstable dynamics – which can lead to jack-knifing – drivers of these vehicles are often tired after many hours on the road and need to make deliveries swiftly, which compounds the issue.”

The Surrey team has worked with Ford Otosan in Turkey to develop planning algorithms and tracking controllers to support Level 3 automation (where a vehicle can drive itself but can give control back to the driver if needed). The research has included working with psychologists to understand the human design aspects and getting feedback from drivers in different European countries.

Dr Hartavi Karci said: “Our demonstration showed that the automated system performs better than an expert human driver, and is therefore an effective way to solve the challenge of docking for loading and unloading these vehicles.”

TrustVehicle was one of only three projects to be funded under the H2020 call ‘Safety and end-user acceptance aspects of road automation in the transition’.

Following the successful demonstration of this technology, the TrustVehicle team has created a video to showcase the results.

Find out more about the TrustVehicle project.


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