Automation & Electric Heavy Vehicles

As technology and automation become more commonplace, we will see, in the not too distant future, autonomous and electric vehicles making more of an impact in the Off-Highway industries.

Autonomous tractors use a lot of the same advanced sensors and systems that a true self-driving vehicle would, so it is no surprise that these are taking the lead. However, other off highway manufacturers are also starting to develop their answer to the need for automation, including in the heavy vehicle sector.

The quest to incorporate automation technologies in commercial vehicles is not new. Early developers began testing in 1985, and demonstrated an off-road trip of just over half a mile at 3 miles per hour. Automated vehicles have come a long way since then and automotive manufacturers have begun to transition the deployment of automative vehicles to the road. Companies including Daimler and Volvo have been actively pursuing these developments, carrying out their own tests and preparing to launch to market. Volvo has tested vehicle automation in underground mines, sugarcane fields and in refuse trucks. Mercedes-Benz has deployed advanced driving systems to synchronize automated vehicles for snow removal.

We are starting to see low levels of partial vehicle automation in the form of advanced driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist quickly becoming common throughout the commercial vehicle market. This is in turn is improving the business case for commercial vehicle automation. So it will not be too far in the future that this technological development is seen in off road and on road heavy vehicles.

But, how does vehicle lighting fit into the mix?

Lighting plays an important role in autonomous vehicle design to improve safety and viability to those working around the machine. TYRI is developing new intelligent lighting systems to aid in automation vehicle design. These systems can be integrated, remote controlled and sensor operated. TYRI INTELLilight system is the first to deliver functions such as the option to have two colour temperature settings delivered from the same light. The system can be stand alone or integrated with CAN-BUS meaning it has applications outside the automation vehicle too.

Alongside the predictions for autonomous vehicles is the advance in electric vehicle technology, meaning we are likely to see more integration of electric commercial vehicles at a rapid pace.

This take over has many OE manufacturers racing to be the leading force in this new field of equipment.

However, with quieter and cleaner engines, additional safety concerns become apparent. Warning and lighting systems need to be much more visual, so workers can identify when a machine is approaching and from which direction. This is where effective lighting is key to safety, especially since electric vehicles can provide a bigger horsepower without added noise or fumes.

When thinking about lighting in electric vehicles, it also pays to look at the latest technology. LED’s draw less power than Halogen’s reducing the strain on your machine battery. This ensures more power is available for other applications such as GPS, on-board computers or more lighting to the area around your machine, all, in most cases, without increasing the capacity of your alternator. Running time is also a factor – with lower energy draw, battery life is increased, and the vehicle can remain in operation longer.

TYRI is an expert at designing lighting that is fit for purpose. This involves looking at the application in its entirety and knowing that it isn’t about the brightness of the light, rather the direction it is focused, the main purpose of the lighting and the effect on those working around the machines. The whole picture needs to be understood before an effective solution can be developed. The lighting solution also needs to complement the machine design to help it stand out from the competition.

Done correctly, the right lighting can make a manufacturers electric vehicle unique and effective but also increase safety on work sites, either underground or on the surface.

TYRI is at the forefront of technological advancements. Leading the way in advanced lighting solutions.