Bus & Coach Buyer May 2014
X-Wire Safety Systems – Save lives, reduce damage and make manoeuvring easier.
Front Corner Protection helps warn of cyclists and pedestrians.
Chilling reports of a spate of cyclist fatalities following collisions with buses in the capital may well be fresh in your memory from the end of last year. Just recently, the Mayor of London and TFL has agreed to run a summer trial of safety equipment on its bus fleet designed to avoid these accidents. However, the risk of colliding with cyclists and pedestrians is not specific to London.
For a long while technology designed to help bus and coach drivers avoid collisions such as these have been ‘locked in a time warp’ according to Steve Atkinson of SCC Worldwide Ltd. The new, ‘next generation’ product they are bringing into the bus and coach industry is designed to bring the standard of proximity sensors into a new age
X-Wire is a proximity sensor system that can be fitted to the corner, rear or side of a coach or bus. It provides audible and visual warnings when the vehicle gets too close to an object. According to Steve, other products available communicate between the sensor and monitor using a Bluetooth connection or separate wiring. SCC's Rear Protection System differs in that its ECU (electronic control unit) is located at the rear of the vehicle, with the connection made through the reverse light power feed. Inside the cab, the driver display is wired into the vehicle via the switched live feed. When reverse is selected, the ECU is activated by the reverse light power feed, when an obstacle is detected a signal is transmitted to the display using X-Wire technology through the vehicles existing wiring.
The location of rear sensors in the X-Wire system
X-Wire's display provides an audible warning of any detected object by a series of beeps. These become more rapid the closer it gets until the constant ‘stop’ tone is reached. A visual display identifies which side the detected object is and LEDs go through amber to red once the stop distance has been attained. The system is passive and requires no driver input to function, nor does it require an aerial or separate power source. An advantage of this is that it saves time when fitting, as it requires less wiring, thus keeping workshop costs and VOR time to a minimum.
The front corner protect system connects to the vehicle via switched live feed too, working in much the same way as the reverse and side sensors. The initial detection distance can be pre-selected when installing, either 90cm or 60cm. The display will turn to a constant tone within 30cm.
X-Wire transmits information using X-Wire technology. According to Steve, this effectively eliminates disruption from other signals, ensuring no ‘spurious beeps’ from the unit. He claimed some other systems occasionally get a false signal from other devices, such as someone on the side of the road using their mobile phone, which he believes leads to drivers ‘switching off’ to warnings. He said, ‘If you receive a signal from ours, then you can be assured there is something or someone close by.’
Dirt and ice disrupting the signal is not a problem with X-Wire either, according to Steve. Some similar products’ ultrasonic systems sometimes fail to operate correctly as the sensors signal becomes disrupted by road grime build up or icy conditions, but the high quality sensors employed by SCC eliminate this. The ECU is rated IP67 and all its sensors operate normally through minus 40 degrees C to plus 80 degrees C. The systems are based on products the company currently supplies to vehicle manufacturers throughout Europe and are fully type approved, EMC approved and CANbus compatible. SCC has had meetings with VOSA to discuss the systems and technology used. They have no issues with these systems being fitted to commercial vehicles. Illustrating the company’s confidence, each system comes with a three year guarantee.
X-Wire can be fitted to all PCVs and commercial vehicles, regardless of size, with Steve claiming it really comes into its own with articulated vehicles. It is also a major aid when blindside reversing, with Steve saying he gets a lot of feedback from customers confirming this. He said, ‘It really speeds the reversing process up, not to mention making it safer, easier and reducing damage to both the vehicle and third party property.’
Reversing cameras are relatively common on modern vehicles, so why use a system that merely beeps? Steve said backing up with a camera can sometimes be a ‘nightmare’ because they are displayed on a 2D screen, which offers no depth perception. He said that when people drive cars fitted with reversing cameras and beepers, they often rely mostly on the audio warning system when manoeuvring anyway.
Another problem may well be with the driver. Will they welcome the device or see it as a slight to their ability? Steve said, ‘Of course, some drivers will be reluctant. But trust me, anyone that has attempted a blindside reverse will tell you anything that helps with it is welcomed. Coach and bus drivers are very professional, they are the best on the road. I think a good driver will recognise the value of this device.’
And finally . . .
Even though it is only just been made available for the bus and coach market, it has already found a customer in Paddywagon Tours. The Irish tour operator fitted the equipment to protect the fronts and rears of its fleet. The company has given some good feedback about the system, as has another major transport operator. Steve said one driver claimed the system could have saved the life of a teenager who cycled out in front of his truck as he was making a left turn. If he had not heard the display beep, then he said he would not have stopped in time.
For more details visit www.xvisionsystems.com or contact Xvision Safety Systems Tel: 0845 2700 862
SCC would like to thank Paddywagon for their help and co-operation and allowing us to use images of their vehicles in this article. Please visit their website to find out more about their services and tours.
For more details visit www.paddywagontours.com or contact Paddywagon Tel: +353 1 823 0822
The original article appeared in Bus & Coach Buyer, May 2014.
For more details, visit their website www.busandcoachbuyer.com