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Bavarian ADAC awards Mobility Prize 2007 to MAN Nutzfahrzeuge

Motor club praises Proximity Alert System for trucks as an important innovation for greater road safety / MAN Proximity Alert System reduces risk of accident at road junctions

The Bavarian section of the German motor club ADAC has singled out MAN Nutzfahrzeuge for its Mobility Prize 2007. This is a tribute to MAN Nutzfahrzeuge's commitment to greater safety in road traffic, as evidenced by the development of the so-called turn-off assistant or Proximity Alert System. This system warns truck drivers during turn-off manoeuvres at road junctions if pedestrians or cyclists are moving into the danger zone. In this way serious accidents during such manoeuvres can be prevented.

Prof. Dr. Karl Viktor Schaller, Director Engineering and Purchasing at the MAN Nutzfahrzeuge Group, received the prize from the hands of Dr. August Markl, Chairman of ADAC Southern Bavaria, and Peter Spruss, Chairman of ADAC Northern Bavaria. "With this innovation MAN Nutzfahrzeuge is making an active contribution to more safety in traffic," declared Dr. Markl at the award ceremony. With its annual Mobility Prize the ADAC rewards projects, achievements and ideas in the field of transport in Bavaria. By way of recognition the prizewinners receive a work from the well-known Munich sculptor, H. W. Twardzik, which picks up and reflects the theme of mobilty.

"We all want a fair and safe situation on the roads. MAN engineers have been working intensively for many years on further improvements in the safety of commercial vehicles," explained Prof. Dr. Schaller. "Last year, for example, we were the first commercial vehicle manufacturer to offer the Electronic Stability Program ESP as a series feature in its heavy trucks." Prof. Dr. Schaller concluded his word of thanks by saying: "The Proximity Alert System is a further example showing that MAN is one of the pionieers in the commercial vehicle sector when it comes to developing and introducing new safety systems. I am very pleased that the ADAC in Bavaria has acknowledged this by awarding us its Mobility Prize."

More safety when trucks turn off at road junctions

Nearside turns by trucks are a critical situation for pedestrians and cyclists in urban traffic, and not only children assess the range of vision of the truck driver incorrectly. Pedestrians and cyclists can move into the nearside area of the truck when they stop at a road junction directly next to the truck. In that position it is difficult for the driver to see them – and today he has keep an eye on a total of six mirrors and look out of the windows too. Sometimes the truck's swerving to the offside before actually turning off is misinterpreted – even though the driver has used the direction indicator properly. In this way difficult situations arise again and again, and occasionally serious accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists occur too.

For a long time now the developers at MAN Nutzfahrzeuge have been working hard on solutions to reduce the accident risks during turning off at road junctions. Even at the end of 2004 MAN Nutzfahrzeuge began to introduce new rear-view mirrors which largely eliminate the dreaded blind spot into series production. This anticipated an EU directive scheduled to come into force only on 1st January 2006. The new mirrors with modified radii of curvature give the driver a much better view of the areas to the left and right of his truck. If he wants to turn off he can thus recognise in particular pedestrians and cyclists better and earlier whom he hardly have been able to see with the old mirrors. In January 2006 MAN also introduced a new front mirror in its trucks: this provides a view of the area directly in front of the vehicle. It makes people and objects visible to the driver which he would previously not have been able to see at all or only with great difficulty. This mirror has been mandatory throughout the EU since 01.01.2007.

The Proximity Alert System for trucks from MAN Nutzfahrzeuge

In order to achieve a sustained reduction in the risks of accident during turning off at road junctions, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge has developed its so-called Proximity Alert System. This helps the truck driver to notice other road users as he turns off. According to recent accident statistics some 95 per cent of collisions between trucks and pedestrians or cylists as the truck turns off happen in the immediate vicinity of the truck cab and the front nearside area. This is precisely the area that is monitored by the MAN Proximity Alert System, which warns the truck driver if a pedestrian or cyclist is heading for a collision..

Externally a truck fitted with a Proximity Alert System can be recognised by several small ultrasonic sensors distributed over the front and nearside area of the vehicle. With these sensors the area around the cab – within a radius of about two metres – is measured when the truck stops, for example at a road junction or traffic lights, and the distance up to any objects in this area is determined. These data are saved in a computer. If a pedestrian or cyclist, for example, approaches the truck while it is stationary, the sensors calculate a new shorter distance. If the cyclist or pedestrian comes within a set distance the truck driver is warned by a visual signal. In this way the Proximity Alert System draws the driver's attention to a change in the situation in the danger area before he actually moves off again. If the driver wants to move off although an object or person is still in the danger area near his truck, he is given a second warning of the risk of collision, this time an acoustic one.

The Proximity Alert System is the result of several years' development work. The tests carried out in real road traffic during the advance development stageyielded extremely positive results, the test drivers finding the system to be great help in potentially critical turn-off situations. MAN Nutzfahrzeuge then presented the Proximity Alert System at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2006 in Hanover to gauge the market acceptance for such a system. The response from the specialist public was extremely positive, and so in 2007 further development of the system up to series-production maturity began. The MAN Proximity Alert System will be introduced as a series feature in MAN trucks in the course of next year.

Prof. Dr. Karl Viktor Schaller, Director Engineering and Purchasing at the MAN Nutzfahrzeuge Group, received the prize from the hands of Dr. August Markl, Chairman of ADAC Southern Bavaria, and Peter Spruss, Chairman of ADAC Northern Bavaria.

Bavarian ADAC awards Mobility Prize 2007 to MAN Nutzfahrzeuge

The Mobility Prize 2007