In a January 5, 2009 press release, Eaton Corp. announced that “…today it has sold its VORAD (Vehicle On-Board RADar) system to Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, which is based in Elyria, Ohio.”
Update: New Trucking Bill Would Reward Purchasers of VORAD Systems.
VORAD and SmartCruise are vision and object detection systems that can eliminate blind spots and immediately warn drivers of unsafe speeds and distances of surrounding objects. Advanced systems can even take control of vehicle attributes, such as speed, in situations where a driver’s reaction time may be too slow to avoid an accident.
Although the idea of collision warning systems is still largely futuristic in cars, it’s been around for years in semi-trucks. Introduced by Eaton in 1994, the VORAD collision warning system allows truck drivers to “see” the road in all types of weather and traffic conditions, and also warns of potential hazards that lie ahead, such as a stopped or slow-moving vehicle. SmartCruise uses radar technology to allow an equipped tractor to establish and maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles while in cruise control.
Safety-conscious trucking companies make the decision to retrofit their fleets with VORAD systems based on a return on investment that goes beyond dollars alone. VORAD and SmartCruise together cost approximately $3,000 per unit, but Eaton claims that statistics prove tractors equipped with its VORAD collision warning system are safer than those without. Indeed, a 1996 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study indicates that collision warning systems like VORAD can reduce rear-end accidents by 51% and lane change accidents by 47%. And while the government isn’t ready to mandate the use of collision warning systems like VORAD, it admits that accidents could be reduced by as much as 50 percent through their use.
Commercial, government, and military fleets that have incorporated VORAD collision warning systems include:
- U.S. Xpress
- Arctic Express
- Boyle Transportation Transport Besner
- Cardinal Freight
- Penske Logistics
- JCJ Trucking
- Maverick Transportation
- Prevost Bus
- Averitt Express
- McKenzie Tank Lines
- Transport Besner
- Anderson Trucking
- State of Minnesota
- U.S. Army