Volvo Trucks’ new Camera Monitor System can potentially reduce both fuel consumption and costs. It can also enhance safety by improving direct and indirect vision of the surrounding traffic environment – in all light and weather conditions.
Cameras and monitors are increasingly replacing side mirrors on trucks – for good reason. The new technology offers many benefits, and Volvo Trucks is now launching the Camera Monitor System.
“It really improves the driver experience,” says Hayder Wokil, Safety & ADAS (Advanced driver-assistance system), Volvo Trucks. “I’ve spent many hours test-driving the system, and it has considerably better direct vision, even when light or weather conditions are demanding.”
He continues: “When we started, we felt that some of the existing technology solutions weren’t enough to satisfy our customers. So, we committed to ensuring we could put the highest-quality system on the market.”
Safety is a Volvo core value and essential to the Camera Monitor System's performance. Still, Hayder Wokil explains, the main driver was the EU Regulation 2019/1242 setting CO2 emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles. “To meet the Paris Agreement, the EU strives to accelerate the transport sector towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. New heavy-duty vehicles must significantly reduce fuel consumption already by 2025. The Camera Monitor System can help achieve this.”
Compared to large mirrors, the considerably smaller camera arms make a vehicle more aerodynamic, especially when used on Volvo Trucks’ newly launched aerodynamic cabs.
“There are potential fuel economy savings over the vehicle’s lifetime that long-haul operators will appreciate,” Hayder Wokil says. “It may translate into considerable cost reductions if you operate a long-haul fleet of several vehicles, but it will also save costs for an owner-operator.”
Without the bulky mirror casings to block the view, the driver’s direct vision improves. Furthermore, digital features enhance the driving experience, such as the Zoom-out Field of View, a unique Volvo feature. It helps the driver maneuver safely by providing more information about the traffic surrounding the truck.
The system has a safety feature that helps the driver determine how fast other vehicles are approaching the truck from behind. “In the Camera Monitor System, the main rearview has so-called end-of-trailer lines that the driver can set on the monitor screen,” says Hayder Wokil. “It will benefit the driver, particularly when making safe lane changes.”
When you drive, you often move your head to get a better view in the mirror. That will not be necessary with this feature. Instead, an auto-panning feature adjusts to the front steering wheel angle and lets the driver know where the end of the trailer is.
Hayder Wokil says: “The intention is to implement the function in all vehicle combinations, including rigid combinations and tractor-trailer combinations.”
Compared to large mirrors, the considerably smaller camera arms make the vehicle more aerodynamic.
The superior view along the vehicle's sides will contribute in making the surroundings safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users. The passenger corner camera in the Camera Monitor System can be activated while turning, combined with Volvo Trucks’ Vulnerable Road User (VRU) detector. This is excellent support for the driver in detecting any other road user.
Furthermore, the improved surround view will enhance the driver’s security when parked and resting. Even with the curtains or blinders shut, you can activate the Camera Monitor System from the bedside to provide surveillance and show what is going on along the truck's sides.
How infrared technology improves night vision
Volvo Trucks’ cameras have a night mode that uses infrared light to give a more detailed and clear view of the darkness of the truck’s immediate surroundings. This is very useful, for example, when a truck arrives at a terminal at night. Thanks to the IR camera, visibility at night or in low light is better with the cameras than with mirrors.
The Camera Monitor System will benefit both operators and drivers. Mainly on the fuel economy, but it will also enhance safety”.
The cameras are also equipped with lens heating to remove any mist or ice that may impair the view. It is activated automatically below +6° Centigrade but can also be activated manually in humid conditions at higher temperatures. Generally, the heat generated by the camera removes any mist on the lens. When it rains, the driver doesn’t experience the same impaired visibility from Camera Monitor System displays as from wet or dirty side mirrors or side windows.
The finished Camera Monitor System underwent a comprehensive testing and verification program. Hayder Wokil explains: “In our process, we always first test all components separately. Then, we assemble the system and check it. Finally, we put the system in the truck to ensure we achieved the designed performance, functionality, durability, and reliability.”
Hayder Wokil has test-driven trucks equipped with the Camera Monitor System north of the Arctic Circle during winter, as well as going uphill and downhill in southern Spain in a +40° Centigrade heatwave. “The basis of our testing is always how our customers will use the solution, which can vary greatly even across the same customer segment. We have representation in roughly 180 markets worldwide, with different climates, operations, and truck usage cultural conditions. It’s quite a wide range of requirements to fulfill.”
External drivers and customers were included from the start and consulted throughout the development process. “We listened to their feedback, for example, what they miss, their views on a camera monitor system, and what kind of features they want. We brought the feedback back to our engineers for continuous adjustments and improvements.”
Hayder Wokil concludes that Volvo Trucks’ new Camera Monitor System will benefit operators and drivers, especially in the long-haul sector.
“Mainly on the fuel economy, but the system will enhance safety, hopefully reduce accidents, give more uptime, improve visibility, aid in maneuvering, and potentially impact insurance premiums and the driver experience,” he says. “Furthermore, going forward, we have a comprehensive roadmap to add features and integrate this system with other truck systems to reap even more customer benefits.”
For more information about Volvo Trucks' Camera Monitor System, check out our product information or contact your nearest dealer.