Eaton lands $6.7-million DOT contract

Eaton Corp. was recently awarded a $6.7-million contract by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) as part of a $31.6-million program to develop technologies to help drivers avoid crashes.

The Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) Program Field Operational Test is a four-year program that will bring together five automotive and commercial vehicle suppliers, including Eaton, to develop and test a new integrated crash warning system for passenger cars and commercial heavy-duty trucks.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is coordinating the work of the partnership and conducting the field experiments. The program will develop integrated advanced technologies that will warn drivers when they are about to leave the road, are in danger of colliding with another vehicle while attempting a lane change, or are at risk of colliding with the vehicle in front of them.

Eaton will use its $6.7-million contract to develop the integrated system for the commercial vehicle portion of the IVBSS program. Eaton said it will develop the integrated system to combine lane-departure warning technology, which uses camera-based vision and image processing, with Eaton's radar-based technology. "Smart" decision-making algorithms will manage the data.

The integrated system is expected to prevent conflicting warnings and reduce false alarms, which could cause their own problems-- such as causing a road departure crash while trying to prevent a rear-end crash, Eaton said. With a single Driver-Vehicle Interface (DVI) unit located inside the cab of the heavy-duty vehicle, the driver will be able to quickly recognize hazards while minimizing the confusion that would result from multiple displays and sounds.

"We are very pleased to collaborate with the USDOT and other industry leaders in transportation safety because we are committed to safety in the marketplace," said Roderick Jones, business unit manager of Eaton's Vehicle Solutions business unit. "By combining these technologies into one integrated system, we will increase the safety benefits of collision warning systems for both consumers and fleet operators alike."

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