Samsung is hoping to make overtaking large vehicles easier and safer with a clever technology that allows the driver to see whether they can pass before doing so.
The South Korean technology manufacturer decided to come up with what it calls a ‘Safety Truck’ for Aregentina, where almost one person dies every hour in a traffic accident – mainly while trying to overtake on the country’s predominantly one-lane road network.
It hopes to reduce the problem buy fitting a wireless camera at the front of a truck and four outdoor screens (obviously Samsung built) on the back. Now here’s the clever part.
Remember that Top Gear where Clarkson, Hammond and May tried to make an invisible transit van? Well it’s the same principle in effect here. The front camera films the road ahead and what it sees is played on the screens at the back, effectively allowing the driver to see through the truck so they can overtake when it’s clear to do so instead of guessing.
Samsung said in a statement: “Argentina’s statistics on traffic accidents are among the highest in the world, with most of these accidents occurring on two-lane roads and particularly in situations of overtaking. With this in mind, Samsung developed a technology for trucks that seeks to enrich the lives of people through innovation. But more than that, this time the goal is more ambitious: to save lives.”
The technology behind Safety Truck is nothing new, but this is the first application we are aware of that focusses on road safety and one that would make overtaking a large vehicle much less dangerous.
Samsung has mostly been praised, but some commenters have argued the screens could make life less safe. “The idea is very clever, no doubt, but for it to be truly safe I believe it would have to be a much better representation of the road ahead than appears in this clip,” YouTuber John Gritton said.
Others pointed out that being the correct distance from a truck would help with seeing ahead, although this depends on how narrow or wide the road is, and that it would not always be possible to tell if the image displayed on the screens is up to date and therefore reliable.
Samsung said the Safety Truck is no longer operational but it was able to prove the technology works. The next step will be satisfying various tests to obtain the ‘necessary permits and approvals’ before drivers in Argentina see it on public roads.