Sweeping changes

Australian Road Trains. Have you seen these things? They’re unbelievable – the longest can be over 50 metres long. Whilst the US, Canada, Mexico and a couple of Scandinavian countries allow LCVs (longer combination vehicles, to give them a much drier title) no one does it quite like they do, Down Under.

So we’ve been contacted by someone who needs to be able to measure just how far the trailers or hauling vehicles ingress into adjacent lanes, or off the side of the road. Not easy to do. His current solution is ingenious if a little Heath Robinson: attach hosepipes to each trailer corner, drive the test, and measure the water trails before they dry (which I’ll be willing to bet, in Australia, doesn’t take long.)

Road Train Warning Sign and Roadtrain Just Passing By

My colleague Jake has got stuck in, working out a solution. There are a variety of parameters that need to measured, such as Low Speed Swept Path, Frontal Swing, or the terrifying-sounding High Speed Transient Offtracking, which aims to determine the lateral distance that the last axle on the rearmost trailer tracks outside the path of the steering axle, during a sudden evasive manoeuvre. You wouldn’t want to be in the way of one of these things when it starts to go wrong.

The answer: use our Lane Departure Warning setup and software. This ADAS application has been developed for engineers looking to validate the effectiveness of their Lane Departure Warning systems by first mapping the lane boundaries, and then logging a car’s deviation from them and the angle at which they’re approached.

With a Road Train, you configure the hauling unit as the “lane”, and the trailer as the “subject vehicle” in the software. Once processed, the distance between the hauling and trailing units can be calculated. It works very well.

My colleague has just completed an application note about this, it will be available on our VBOX website soon.

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