Preventing Deaths With Radar Obstacle Detection


Safety Equipment for Construction

Animation of radar object detection on a mining truck.
Radar object detection can prevent deaths.

Blind spots tend to be much larger on heavy equipment and include not only the rear and nearside, but also the front, especially with elevated driver positions common to ADTs, mining trucks, and material handlers.

For drivers and operators in the construction industry, detecting objects and people in blind spots is crucial to safety not only on the road to the job site, but also on sites where ground workers are at risk from moving vehicles and machinery.

Radar obstacle detection technology can detect stationary and moving objects even in the harshest of environments. It gives the driver an audible and visible warning when objects are within a certain distance.

The technology

One such system, from Brigade Electronics, is called Backsense Radar, which has Frequency Modulated Continuous Waves technology that transmits a continuously varying radar frequency signal with time stamps unique to each instance of the wave.

The time of the returning wave is referenced to the stamp without the radar needing to pause transmission. This provides more accurate detection than radar that uses pulsed radar technology, which transmits a burst of radar and then listens for the returning wave.

Distances on the system can also be programmed to suit different-sized vehicles and applications, from 6.5 feet to 33 feet width and 10 feet to 98 feet in length. Custom detection areas can also be set to calibrate-out fixed objects such as attachments and trailers, or bodywork.

The data provided by radar obstacle detection can be combined with an on-screen display and fed back to the driver via an in-cab monitor. The on-screen display warns the driver of obstacles in the danger zone by overlaying five-stage audible and visual radar data onto a camera image on the monitor. This informs the driver of the distance between the vehicle and obstacles.

Network radar system

Due to the number of complex blind spots on large vehicles, a single radar system cannot always provide the levels of detection required. A network radar system, which enables up to eight sensors to be connected and linked to a single in-cab display, is also available. This limits distractions for the driver and further enhances safety, the company says, by ensuring complex blind spots are eliminated.

Of course, technology is just one step towards preventing deaths and solving safety issues. In addition, operators need to ensure that there are robust procedures in place and that they are committed to implementing and executing these to ensure they are doing as much as possible to keep everyone safe.