The Land Rover newsroom have recently reported on the demonstration of their latest technology regarding trailer safety. At the Burghley Horse Trials that were held 3rd-6th September the demo was seen. A Range Rover research vehicle that had the technology prototype fitted to it, enabled the blind spot that is created by towing a trailer/caravan etc, to be completely removed for the driver. This greatly improves safety for all road users near the vehicle that is towing. Any animals being transported using the ‘Transparent Trailer’ system, will also be at a much lower risk of being involved in any kind of accident. Not only is the safety improved in transit on the highways, but also on reaching a destination and any manoeuvring of the trailer needed there.
The technology works by combining the vehicle’s surround camera system including a camera on each wing mirror and a reversing camera that is already fitted, with a video feed. The video feed is originates from a digital wireless camera that is placed on the rear of the trailer/caravan. The result of the combination of all the cameras working together, creates the illusion that the object being towed is transparent. Therefore the driver can see through it. The video feed information from the camera at the rear of the trailer/caravan is projected automatically, onto the internal rear view mirror.
“When you are overtaking it is instinctive to check your mirrors, but if you are towing your vision is often restricted with large blind spots. Our Transparent Trailer project is researching how we could offer a view out of the vehicle unrestricted by your trailer, no matter what its size or shape. Our prototype system offers a very high quality video image with no distortion of other cars or obstructions. This means the driver would have exactly the right information to make safe and effective decisions when driving or manoeuvring,making towing safer and less stressful.” said the Director of Research and Technology at Land Rover, Dr Wolfgang Epple.
The infotainment screen inside a vehicle using the new technology, would have calibrated guidance lines used with the video feed from the camera at the rear of the trailer/caravan. This means that the driver will have a much better view whilst reversing.
In addition to the ‘Transparent Trailer’ system, a prototype application called ‘Cargo Sense’ can also be used. The app is for use in monitoring loads within a trailer, therefore allowing a driver to manage safer loads. When used for transporting live animals, such as horses, there are also many additional benefits.
The Cargo Sense app works by gathering data from both pressure sensors on the floor and a remote video camera inside the trailer. The information is linked to the towing vehicle. Any movement inside the trailer whilst in transit, would then be fed to the driver and a warning issued if the movement was unexpected. This would alert the driver that the load may not be stable enough to continue driving and adjustments could be made to prevent damage to the load. More importantly, if transporting a live animal, the driver would be alerted to the animal becoming stressed and then give time to help it before the situation become to serious for the health of the animal.
Cargo Sense can also be used when the owner is away from the vehicle, to monitor the state of the load inside the trailer. This is particularly useful when transporting luve animals. The vehicle owner would be alerted via SMS if there is unsual levels of movements in the trailer. Allowing the animal to be checked upon for unnecessary signs of distress and ultimately calm the animal.
Dr Emma Punt, an Animal Physiologist, will be working with the Royal Veterinary College and the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA) on a project researching horse distress and stress whilst travelling. The project will be exploring how the Land Rover Cargo Sense app could be used to indicate problems with horses in transit.
“Whether it is to help prevent road accidents and injuries to horse and handler, or even to simply ensure your horse arrives at its destination stress free, I’m sure every owner would like to learn how to reduce stress for their horse during travel…Gaining a better understanding of the environment inside the trailer, and the horse’s reaction to it, would make the animal more comfortable during travel and ensure the horse is capable of performing to the best of its ability, whether it’s at a local competition, or a major international event like the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.” Dr Punt said.
During the research, Dr Punt and her team will be investigating the measurements taken with the pressure mat sensors used with the Cargo Sense application. And how the data may be able to locate and identify hoof pressure, should a horse move unexpectedly whilst inside the trailer.
Sidesteps would like to wish Dr Punt and the team at Land Rover all the very best with their research on the exciting project and new technology!
To view a video of this story, please click here: http://youtu.be/Q9HmdIh6AYw
Dr Punt is an associate of the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA), who provide advice, training and accreditation for those involved in the rescue and trauma care of animals (http://bartacic.org).
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With thanks to the newsroom at Land Rover for the use of the image.