Shake up of highway code comes into force this week


New state-of-the-art technology, which uses artificial intelligence to detect the speed and distance of cyclists from a truck, could help keep vulnerable road users safe, while protecting drivers from hefty new fines which form part of a shake-up of the Highway Code.

With tougher penalties coming into force this week to ensure greater protection for cyclists and pedestrians, Brigade Electronics is calling for more operators to adopt a new predictive collision detection system, to safeguard against fatalities on UK roads.

Sidescan®Predict is the next generation of side-detection sensor system that can intelligently discriminate potential collisions and warn the driver with sufficient time to intervene.

The new technology is the brainchild of Brigade Electronics, who spent more than seven years researching, developing and testing the system, before it had its first trials in 2020.

Since then, Sidescan®Predict has revolutionised the truck and van industry, with the system helping to reduce the risk of facilities by an additional 84 per cent.

Brigade’s UK marketing manager Emily Hardy said: “With the Department for Transport publishing a new ‘hierarchy of road users’ this week, giving more protection to cyclists and pedestrians, it is now more important than ever before to take action to help preserve lives and keep within the law.”

The reformed Highway Code, which comes into force on Saturday (29th January), includes a tranche of changes for motorists and passengers, and those who fail to abide by the new rules will face tougher £200 fines and six points on their licence.

The change is part of a £338 million package announced by government to boost cycling and walking across the country, while ensuring that UK roads are safe for vulnerable users.

Emily added: “Sidescan®Predict is a revolutionary system that utilises ultrasonic technology to predict if a collision is likely to occur. It has already received positive feedback from drivers, who say they noticed a significant reduction in the risk of collision with both vulnerable road users and static objects.

“Vehicle safety systems play an important role in saving lives and Brigade remains at the forefront of industry with the sole aim of keeping drivers, cyclists and pedestrians safe on our roads.”

Sidescan®Predict constantly gathers object detection data, with additional technology embedded in the system to amass information such as speed, direction, acceleration, and the turning rate of a vehicle.

This information feeds an algorithm created by Brigade to assess the risk and calculate the likelihood of a collision with cyclists and pedestrians who are near the vehicle. The system always remains switched on when the vehicle’s speed is below 22mph, regardless of the indicator selection, and cannot be deactivated by the driver.

It has been designed for the most rigid body vehicles, including rigid box vehicles, tippers, mixers, coaches and buses with a minimum length of 5.2 metres. The system comprises of six sensors which have a detection area of 2.5 metres, compared to the industry standards of 1 to 1.5 metres.

“Lorries pose a disproportionate risk to both pedestrians and cyclists, with collisions involving a large vehicle far more likely to prove fatal than those involving a car,” added Emily. “Many of these accidents are the result of limited direct vision and detection systems make drivers more aware of the proximity of a vulnerable road user.”

To combat the issue of limited vision, Brigade Electronics has a range of camera monitor systems to enable drivers and operators to manoeuvre and drive safely. They help drivers see blind spots and offer reversing aid by delivering a live feed onto the monitor of everything in the camera view, including people or obstacles.