Eaton awarded $6.7 million safety contract

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Eaton Corp., the maker of Vorad collision warning systems, has been awarded a $6.7 million contract by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The contract is part of a $31.6 million program to develop technologies to help drivers avoid crashes.

The Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems Program Field Operational Test is a four-year program that will bring five companies together to develop and test a new integrated crash warning system for commercial heavy-duty trucks and passenger cars. The other four companies involved are AssistWare Technology, Honda Research and Development Americas, Kenworth and Visteon.

The primary contractor is the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, which will coordinate the partnership and conduct 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. Eaton will use its contract to develop the system for the commercial vehicle portion of the program.

“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,” says Roderick Jones, business unit manager for Eaton Vorad, which is a series of radar sensors that allow truck drivers to monitor nearby vehicles.

Eaton’s Innovation Center in Milwaukee reported that the first step would be to combine lane-departure warning technology with Eaton’s radar-based technology. The unit will be designed to prevent conflicting warnings and reduce false alarms and unintended consequences, such as running off the road while trying to prevent a rear-end collision. With a driver-vehicle interface unit inside the cab, the truck driver will be able to recognize hazards quickly and minimize the confusion of multiple displays and sounds, Eaton says.