Are “Safety Trucks” Really Going to Save the Highways?by Jana Ritter - Published: 7/06/2015
In June, Samsung introduced its “Safety Truck” to the world and the transparent truck concept with its slick looking LCD screen immediately went viral. Poised to be the best potential lifesaver of the future, Samsung put its electronic mastery to work and found a way to make the relatively simple “Safety Truck” concept into a real life thing. By sticking a camera on the front of a lorry and then hooking it up to a screen on the back, the truck essentially becomes ‘transparent’, allowing motorists to see the road ahead in order pass big trucks much more safely.
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But the genius idea that got everyone excited and many truck drivers on board during its last month debut, is now being scrutinized for the possible holes in the reality of its ability to make our highways safer. The first logical question that many want to know is why with today’s technology, hasn’t this been done before?The fact is that in 2009, Moscow based company, Art Lebdevev, introduced the exact same concept in, “Transparentius,” a truck designed to function just like Samsung’s Safety Truck. However, the potential problems became evident immediately around the uncertainty as to whether or not the technology would work in low light environments, in adverse weather conditions or whether it could cope with sun glare etc.
While Samsung has since stepped in with its experience with outdoor technology (such as its infamous screens in Times Square) and stepped up the game with the “Safety Truck” having already passed testing in Argentina, the specifics of how well it really works have yet to be released. But even if the “Safety Truck” does end up being all that, some have raised another valid concern about economically viable it will be for the industry to invest in such technology. Especially considering whether or not the cost would balance out with the number of fatal collisions reduced by these trucks. While the camera would be a relatively cheap investment, installing the four required large displays on each truck would be a major investment for trucking companies, with no real financial benefit - as of yet. Would companies be forced to recoup the costs with advertising dollars? And that raises the question of whether these giant screens would actually be safer or simply more distracting to drivers?
Of course another crucial concern that has been raised, is how accurately do these screen represent the actual distance of oncoming cars? How well would motorists be able to rely on the screens in order make their own accurate judgements of timing and speed? Some critics have also questioned whether certain drivers would only be encouraged to make even riskier attempts at passing large sized vehicle on the highways. Not to mention the question of whether the “Safety Truck” would even be really necessary on highways with multiple lanes.
So less than a month after the “Safety Truck” concept makes it widely applauded debut, critics are already driving it down and paving the way for the next, technological breakthrough - Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication systems. Stay tuned…