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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Subsidised road safety device for heavy vehicles

More safety for driving out on the roads
The Straits Times - May 27, 2014
By: Audrey Tan
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Subsidised road safety device for heavy vehicles The Mobileye, a warning system that can be installed in heavy vehicles, can sense pedestrians on the road. Under a tie-up between Spring Singapore and the Singapore Transport Association, the device costs less for 20 firms. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

A DEVICE that warns truck drivers of impending collisions now costs less under a scheme prompted by a spate of road deaths involving heavy vehicles.

The pilot phase of a new tie-up between the Singapore Transport Association (STA) and Spring Singapore announced yesterday will allow 20 firms to get subsidies to cover up to 70 per cent of the cost. It applies to transportation and logistics companies under the STA with fleets of heavy vehicles.

The device, called the Mobileye Telematics Advanced Driver Assistance System (Mobileye), is the first warning system that can be installed in heavy vehicles and can sense bicycles, pedestrians or other vehicles on the road.

When it detects a potentially dangerous situation, such as when a pedestrian dashes out onto the road, the device emits visual or audio signals to alert the driver.

Each company can install the device in a maximum of 30 vehicles in its fleet under the scheme funded by Spring Singapore's Capability Development Grant, a financial assistance programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Spring Singapore's deputy chief executive Ted Tan said: "Our SMEs need to harness technology to increase their productivity and there is a strong business imperative for transport companies to minimise their downtime and costs from accidents."

The device consists of a smart camera and screen mounted on the windshield and dashboard respectively. It can also alert drivers to speed limits on the roads and warn them if they are drifting out of their lane.

Mobileye works by analysing and monitoring road conditions ahead through computer and machine vision technology.

For instance, it can "interpret" a scene, captured in real time by the camera, and give drivers an immediate evaluation.

Companies can also track the driving patterns of its drivers using a monitoring system linked to the device. If a driver is found to be driving dangerously, his boss may opt to send him for training.

Mobileye is distributed by local vehicle safety company Chuan-Fa Auto and costs about $2,000. It has been sold in Singapore for the past four years.

STA chairman Dave Ng said the association is introducing the device to its members given the "spate of unfortunate accidents involving heavy vehicles in which lives were lost" in recent years.

Fatalities from accidents involving heavy vehicles rose from 32 in 2012 to 44 last year.

In January, a motorcyclist was decapitated after his motorcycle collided with a tipper truck in Tuas. Last year, a concrete mixer knocked down and killed two young brothers in Tampines.

Bok Seng Logistics driver Rino Sophian Abdul Samad, 37, who has been using Mobileye for more than two months, said the device was responsive and helpful.

He added: "But the driver also has a part to play - he must concentrate on the roads and observe road conditions, especially in residential areas."

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