Sensors and safety on the road

While vehicle and road safety within the construction sector has come a long way, there are always unexpected dangers on the road. Sensor equipment, however, is fast developing to a point where it is able to predict and counteract such hazards.

Scott Montgomery, Hummingbird mining and industrial sales manager sits down with Roads & Infrastructure to discuss the market’s newest safety sensors.

Trip Meter
Hummingbird’s HMGT8000 GPS Trip Meter – Elite.

HMGT8000 GPS TRIP METER – ELITE

Global positioning system (GPS) sensors are a multi-purpose technology used in a range of industries from emergency response calls in the health sector to in-game tracking within entertainment sectors.

And now, in the construction sector, it is being used to increase the safety of operators and drivers particularly in the pre- planning and transport stages.

The Hummingbird Elite GPS Trip Meter is its newest GPS sensor model used to detect damage to roads and record road conditions on up to eight different trips.

“If a driver was to see a pot-hole or a potential hazard on the road, they can use the GPS’s touch screen to place a marker on the map,” explains Montgomery. “And you can use this function to record anything from a survey point to serious road damage.”

The key benefit of recording all this data, says Montgomery, is its ability to be shared. “All that information can be extracted and overlayed to Google Maps so someone else can reference that exact information and see visibly where it is on a Google Earth Map to help avert dangerous situations,” says Montgomery.

The elite tracker can also record the vehicle’s coordinates, driving time and distance covered, indicating if the vehicle is stationary or how fast it’s moving. This consistent recording creates a wealth of data helping to detect and alert of unsafe operator behaviour.

“Some companies also use it to check when dozer tracks were last put on or when oil or engine changes last occurred, and that’s how they track maintenance,” says Montgomery.

Traditionally, distances were recorded by walking on foot, but according to Montgomery, the elite device allows the operator to calculate distance, from the safety of their car.

Inclinometer
Hummingbird’s HMDS2000 Dual Axis Inclinometer.

HMDS2000 DUAL AXIS INCLINOMETER (INCLUDING 1-DEGREE STANDARD SENSOR)

Functioning in a completely different safety realm than the GPS, the Hummingbird Dual Axis Inclinometer is used for measuring pitch and providing visibility and roll readout with audio alert systems.

“We’ve got four variants of this model; the first two are smaller, and have an internal sensor which is good for light vehicles with a solid chassis,” explains Montgomery. “The other two utilise an external sensor that is great for trucks or machinery with a high centre of gravity.”

According to Montgomery, the larger, external sensors help alarm drivers who are sitting in front, perhaps on flat ground, that a connected trailer or vehicle behind them is on a slope.

“So, the driver can view all this information while sitting there or even driving along,” says Montgomery. “And the inclinometer has an alarm feature where the screen will turn yellow to alert if the slope becomes too steep, and at its max point will alarm and turn red, alerting via a buzzer, or linked voice alarm.”

The inclinometer can also be linked to an external device that can add an extra safety function such as auto locking the truck from Moving or inhibiting a tipper from raising any further.

The inclinometer, similarly, to the Elite GPS, also logs data such as the vehicle’s speed, GPS coordinates, location and the angle

of movement at the time of an event. This wealth of data helps to recognise dangerous behaviour and acts as prevention or follow up in the case of an accident.

SAFETY

With both sensors working to ensure driver safety, albeit in different ways, what distinguishes these from others on the market, says Montgomery, is their specific customer design that is made in Australia.

“We are largely driven by our customers’ request, so as our customers demand more features, then we integrate that into our products,” says Montgomery. “We are always ensuring our products advance with the times, and provide the safety that our customers need.”


 

This article originally appears in the June 2021 edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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