A bird’s eye view

All drivers, from the day they begin to learn, are taught to watch their blind spots.

Understanding what's happening around your vehicle is of utmost importance, particularly when you are driving a massive truck or heavy piece of plant.

Only last month a serious incident occurred at Rio Tinto's Brockman 4 iron ore mine when a haul truck hit a light vehicle dragged it for 40 metres, and was unaware of the incident or even that the truck was there until the occupants radio the driver.

Luckily no one was injured in the incident, but it demonstrated the importance of total situational awareness and how an operator's blind spot affect safety on site.

However it is not just heavy vehicles where this is an issue. Late last year a fatality occurred at the Ravensworth coal mine when an LV driver went through an intersection after failing to see an oncoming haul truck in their blind spot.

To address these issues and avoid incidents like these occurring again Continental has released a new system designed to give operators a total 360 degree view around their vehicle as they work.

Dubbed VDO ProViu it "improves the ease of manoeuvring large vehicles while decreasing the risk of accidents, improving turnarounds and downtimes associated with damage to a vehicle".

The innovative VDO 360 degree surround view is a retrofit system built to enhance safety.

"It takes a giant leap forward in OH&S by providing real time high quality images utilising four specialised cameras with 187 degree fisheye lenses that give the driver [or operator] full 360 degree all-round vision with unprecedented view of the vehicle's surroundings," Continental stated.

"Suitable for retrofit and original equipment application on a wide range of tracks and special purpose vehicles, this latest development from VDO [which is distributed by Continental in Australia] is designed to assist in risk reduction and cutting accidents and life threatening incidents on site."

The rugged camera system mounted on the top of the machine is linked to provide all-round visibility for the operator, reducing blind spots and displaying other vehicles, workers on the ground, and potentially dangerous situations that may not be visible in the side and rear vision mirrors.

The transmitted images are then overlayed on to one another and adjusted perspectively to create a preview on a single bird's-eye view.

"The cameras integrate all the individual functions in one bird's-eye view image.

"Unlike CCTV and other mostly re-active monitoring systems the VDO ProViu is a passive, proactive system," the company said.

"Perfect merging, 'alpha' blending and grading are a standard feature; the entire system is designed for accuracy and has the advantage of a flexible SW tool chain with multiple screens, configuration, custom user interface etc.

"A light/dark balance is achieved by the automatic balancing of the whole image on the screen reducing the differential between the images.

"The system is built to the highest automotive standards and has full certification for EMC and type approval."

Previously it was produced by VDO for original equipment fitment at the factory during vehicle construction, however the newly released ProViu is now highly customisable and more versatile, allowing it to be retrofit to industrial and special purpose vehicles. 

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