Collision Avoidance System

According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, 23% of the fatal crashes involving Class 8 Heavy Duty Trucks in the U.S. are opposite-direction crashes in the form of either head-on collisions or opposite-direction sideswipes. Such crashes most commonly occur on straight stretches of two-lane, two-way highways with speed limits between 45-65 mph. Crashes are typically caused by another vehicle encroaching on the lane of the truck. Delta Autonomy, in association with Daimler Trucks, is developing a Collision Avoidance System (CAS) to detect, analyze, and respond to such potential on-coming crashes.

Collision Avoidance System is an active safety system that:

  1. Detects potential opposite-direction crashes with camera and RADAR sensors setup.
  2. Generates a response mechanisms such as braking or evasive steering maneuvers to either mitigate or avoid a possible crash.

The proposed goals of the project are to:

  1. Acquire camera and RADAR data using the existing sensors commissioned on Daimler class 8 heavy-duty trucks to develop our algorithms, with the help of a sensor rig.
  2. Develop real-time software to detect on-coming vehicles, predict the possibility of head-on collision or sideswipe and plan evasive maneuvers including breaking and steering, with the help of simulation models.
  3. Demonstrate evasive maneuvers proof-of-concept utilizing scale model vehicles.


Our Use Case

Joe is a 42-year-old truck driver who operates along the Portland-Idaho route on his Daimler Western Star® 5700, a class 8 heavy-duty truck. It’s 8 am in the morning and he has just begun his journey from Portland to deliver construction equipment to Nampa, Idaho. The road is a two-lane countryside highway. As a heavy duty truck driver, he loathes driving on two-lane highways. He lost Jamie, a dear friend and fellow trucker in an accident on a two-lane highway. Sadly, Jamie’s case is not unique among the trucking community. Joe knows that a couple of seconds delay in response could mean the difference between life and death. He delivers freights averaging 66,000 pounds and with such heavy load, it is extremely difficult to maneuver the truck as compared to a 4,000-pound car. Fortunately, the truck he drives now comes with a Collision Avoidance System (CAS), developed by Delta Autonomy, a Pittsburgh based start-up that aims at mitigating head-on collisions in class 8 heavy-duty trucks. It’s been two hours into the journey and Joe is cruising at 45 miles per hour on a two-lane highway strip. It’s a warm and sunny day and he notes a yellow bus coming on the opposite lane completely oblivious to the fact that there is a red car just behind the bus, wanting to overtake the bus.

Suddenly, the car departs it’s lane and comes onto Joe’s lane with the distance between them lesser than a tenth of a mile. Joe had been focusing straight and suddenly he hears a crash alert. The red car takes him by surprise. The long overhaul made him fatigued and the sudden appearance of the car within 100 meters coming at him in the opposite direction startles him. Fortunately, the Collision Avoidance System (CAS) takes control of the situation. All this while, the system has been continuously watching out for vehicles on the opposite lane and predicting their future trajectories. The CAS system took images from the on-board camera and fused it with the RADAR information and computed the likelihood of collision in real time.

As soon as the red car departed its lane, the camera and RADAR picked up its presence and started computing the possibility of collision. The system also was cognizant of ego-vehicle state and was predicting ego-state a few seconds into the future. When the red car came into Joe’s lane, CAS immediately detected it and predicted that a crash is certain; thereby immediately warning Joe. The system then starts planning various alternate trajectories for mitigating the crash in real time. It comes to the conclusion that braking while turning sideways to the right would be the best way to mitigate the crash and executes the maneuver. At the same time, CAS also starts alerting all the other vehicles by honking. The red car driver, after being notified by the alert and seeing the truck maneuvering, immediately starts slowing down to avoid the truck. Both the vehicles come to a halt without colliding into one another. Joe restarts the vehicle and starts heading towards the destination, all grateful to CAS and how it saved his and the lives of the passenger.

Delta Autonomy saves the day!


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