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Eaton Corp. awarded $6.7 million contract to help develop next generation safety system for commercial vehicles

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation, the makers of VORAD Collision Warning Systems, has b...

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation, the makers of VORAD Collision Warning Systems, has been awarded a $6.7 million contract by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of a $31.6 million program to develop technologies to help drivers avoid crashes.

The Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) program field operational test is a four-year program that will for the first time bring together five automotive and commercial vehicle suppliers, including Eaton Corporation, to develop and test a new integrated crash warning system for passenger cars and commercial heavy-duty trucks.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is the primary contractor coordinating the work of the partnership and conducting the field experiments. The program will develop integrated advanced technologies that will warn drivers when they are about to leave the road, are in danger of colliding with another vehicle while attempting a lane change, or are at risk of colliding with the vehicle in front of them.

Eaton will use its $6.7 million contract to develop the integrated system for the commercial vehicle portion of the IVBSS program. Created by Eaton’s Innovation Center in Milwaukee, Wis., the first step to developing the integrated system will be to combine lane-departure warning technology, which uses camera-based vision and image processing, with Eaton’s radar-based technology, in a fusion of data management and high-level decision-making algorithms.

The integrated system is expected to prevent conflicting warnings and reduce false alarms and unintended consequences, such as causing a road departure crash while trying to prevent a rear-end crash. With a single Driver-Vehicle Interface (DVI) unit located inside the cab of the heavy-duty vehicle, the device is designed to allow the driver to quickly recognize hazards while minimizing the confusion that would result from multiple displays and sounds.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with the USDOT and other industry leaders in transportation safety because we are committed to safety in the marketplace,” said Roderick Jones, business unit manager of Eaton’s Vehicle Solutions business unit. “By combining these technologies into one integrated system, we will increase the safety benefits of collision warning systems for both consumers and fleet operators alike.”

The first two years of the IVBSS program are focused on realizing the benefits of these individual technologies and then combining those benefits into one integrated system. Once this system is created, UMTRI will conduct a two-year field operational test (FOT) using a fleet of equipped heavy-duty trucks to evaluate system performance. During the testing portion of the program, Eaton will be working closely with several motor-carrier fleets to design and test the integrated system in a real-world revenue-generating environment.

The IVBSS program is a cooperative agreement with three offices of the U.S. Department of Transportation: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office of the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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