Radar advancements bring big improvements to Meritor Wabco’s OnGuard

Truck News

ROCHESTER, Mich. — Meritor Wabco has greatly enhanced its OnGuard collision mitigation system, by improving the radar and adding stationary object detection.

The new OnGuard system, available Oct. 1, combines a collision warning system with adaptive cruise control with active braking and collision mitigation. The new system features a vastly improved radar that can differentiate between large and small objects, which will significantly reduce the number of false alarms generated by items such as pop cans.

“It has a very improved object tracking capabilities,” Alan Korn, director, brake systems integration with Meritor Wabco explained during a recent demonstration. “What’s critical for stationary object detection is, most current radar systems have a very difficult time. It’s easy to see the object but it’s difficult to determine the size of the object with radar. Today, we see every object but what we can’t differentiate is the difference between a Coke can or a heavy truck – it just sees it as an object. This next generation can differentiate the size of the object.”

The new version of OnGuard to be released this year provides audible alerts when a stationary object is detected. A new version, slated for release in 2014, will add automatic braking when an object is detected in the path of a vehicle.

Another improvement over the previous OnGuard system is a feature called Evasive Maneuver Check, which determines if there are vehicles alongside the truck and then uses that information to decide when to intervene. A truck driver who has cars on both sides of his vehicle will receive an intervention earlier than one who can safely make an evasive maneuver when warned of an imminent rear-end collision, officials explained.

Korn said this is possible due to a new short radar beam that can see across a 56-degree span in addition to the long beam that looks 200 metres ahead but only has a span of 18 degrees. (By comparison, the current OnGuard system has a single radar beam that sees across a 10-degree span up to 150 metres ahead). The radar is now able to detect up to six vehicles, compared to the previous version, which could identify only three.

“With the new system, if it sees there’s a vehicle in the adjacent lane, it realizes the driver can’t do an evasive maneuver so it can start the braking process earlier,” Korn explained. “We believe this is going to further reduce the number of rear-end accidents that are going to occur.”

The new system also offers auto-alignment, which eliminates the need to periodically adjust the alignment of the radar.

Also new is an improved driver display, with a larger, higher-resolution screen with day- and nighttime settings to reduce driver distraction.

The OnGuard system’s adaptive cruise control sounds audible alerts, haptic warnings (a rapid pulsation of the brakes to get the driver’s attention) and then applies the appropriate brakes when a rear-end collision is imminent. It is functional regardless of whether or not the vehicle is in cruise control.

“Our next generation of OnGuard is a step change in the functionality of collision safety systems and we believe it represents a significant technological leap forward in reducing crashes involving commercial vehicles,” said Jon Morrison, president and general manager, Meritor Wabco. “With more than three billion miles logged on more than 25,000 OnGuard units in the market, our depth of experience in this technology takes us to the next level to further reduce the risk of rear-end crashes on our roads and highways.”           

Meritor Wabco demonstrated the system to Trucknews.com on a high-speed track at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds. All manner of potential crashes were avoided on the track even when the driver’s foot remained on the throttle. While the company doesn’t promise to eliminate all rear-end collisions with its OnGuard system, it says it will at least slow the truck down enough to mitigate the impact and hopefully prevent injuries. In most cases, however, the system seems capable of preventing the accident altogether. The system seems particularly useful when a distracted driver comes upon stopped traffic or in the event of medical emergencies in which the driver is unable to bring the truck to a stop on his own.

To hear Meritor Wabco’s Mark Melletat explain the OnGuard improvements in more detail, check out this episode of TMTV On the Road.

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