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Volvo turns to AI to improve safety on the road


Perceptive Automata’s software tracks in real-time the likely intention of two pedestrians near a Volvo VNR 300

ONTARIO, Calif. – Volvo Trucks North America has showcased a project designed to strengthen safety capabilities for the trucking industry through automation.

The proof of concept was developed in collaboration with automated vehicle software provider Perceptive Automata and customer Dependable Highway Express.

It leverages artificial intelligence that reads the intention and awareness of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to enhance the situational awareness of truck drivers, Volvo Trucks said.

Visitors watch a simulation on a Volvo VNR 300

At an event in Ontario, Calif., visitors experienced Perceptive Automata’s artificial intelligence software on a Volvo VNR 300 regional-haul model. They also watched AI in action during live tests.

“Safety is a core value at Volvo Trucks, and we continue to explore new and innovative ways to further enhance transportation safety, as well as improve driver support and comfort,” said Aravind Kailas, research and innovation manager at Volvo Group North America.

“We are very proud of the collaboration with Perceptive Automata and DHE, who share our vision for increasing safety and have worked diligently over the last six to eight months to bring this project to life.”

Perceptive Automata is focusing on solving one of the most challenging problems for automated vehicles – understanding the state of mind of humans in our road environment, Volvo Trucks said.

Its AI software ingests data from on-vehicle sensors and, like humans, assesses in real-time the likely intention and awareness of pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers by reading visual cues such as eye contact, posture, physical orientation, and head movements.

Executives from Perceptive Automata, Inland Empire Economic Partnership, DHE, Volvo Group and Greater Ontario Business Council discuss the role of AI in anticipating the behavior of pedestrians

The company said increased safety is achieved through continuous 360-degree monitoring of human road users near the truck and, when warranted, signaling to the truck driver and on-board automated systems increased risk based on changes in human intention.

“Advanced automation in trucking is an important application of our human behavior prediction technology, and we are excited to team with Volvo Trucks and DHE to demonstrate its impact on trucking safety,” said Sid Misra, chief executive officer of the company.


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