Visionary-B 3D assistance system prevents accidents when driving backwards


Looking back and ahead

In fall, huge mountains of sugar beets pile up at Pfeifer & Langen with headquarters in Cologne. One of the leading sugar producers in Europe is supplied with millions of beets during the “Sugar Beet Harvest” campaign. The seemingly endless delivery by huge trucks and redistribution by wheel loaders creates a huge amount of logistical effort. In order to increase collision avoidance safety for reversing wheel loaders and workers at the beet plate reloading point, the sugar producer, in close cooperation with the RCI professional association, decided on the sharp eye of the Visionary-B CV 3D driver assistance system from SICK.

 The 3D camera sensors of the Visionary-B are perfectly suited for use in fall and winter, when the beets are delivered. Even under changing weather conditions such as strong sun radiation or rain, snow or early sundown, the camera sensors deliver a real-time image with optical and acoustic warning signals for improved collision warning.
The 3D snapshot technology evaluates the position of relevant obstacles using the single check principle. Intelligent algorithms developed by SICK filter information that is not relevant for the driver, e.g., curbs, small stones, rain, or fog, out of the vehicle environment. This means that the driver assistance system only warns the driver in really critical situations.

In this joint project with SICK, the following factors were of crucial importance for Pfeifer & Langen: From the very beginning, the goal was to find a solution which would satisfy the company management, safety officers and operators, as well as a partner who was ready to develop concrete solutions on-site. Due to its versatile experience with the Visionary-B as a driver assistant for large work machines and the reliable feasibility statement resulting from this, SICK proved it was the ideal partner. And the close supervision by SICK employees and their presence completed the package.

The 3D solution from SICK assists drivers of large wheel loaders during maneuvering and unavoidable reversing when redistributing the raw sugar material, for example by monitoring the blind spots directly behind the vehicle. A dual system was installed to protect the hard-to-see sides of the vehicle at the same time. The camera sensors mounted on the rear right and left sides of the wheel loader send a live image to two separate screens in the driver’s cabin which are also mounted on the right and left sides like exterior mirrors. For drivers, there is the very pleasant “trained behavior” feature. Due to the “familiar” arrangement reminiscent of rear-view mirrors, they can reliably operate with the assistant right away without long learning phases. The on-site test runs proved this and the strong support by the RCI professional association was very helpful with these exercises in particular.

The collaboration was therefore seen as extremely positive on both sides. The high acceptance by drivers was especially notable; they rated the assistance system as impressive. They also found the system to be a helpful instrument for increasing operational safety. This is even more significant as the campaign is seasonal business during which external workers are also used. The Visionary-B CV helps the drivers operate sustainably to protect humans and materials.
And for Pfeifer & Langen, the successful test phase with the intelligent assistant also means SICK is looking ahead – this is just the beginning.