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TfL to trial 360-degree cameras on lorries in bid to end blind spots (+ video)

Technology from ASL360 already being tested on a London bus; makers say "vehicle visibility issues are no longer an excuse"

A 360-degree detection camera system already being trialled on a bus in London is to be tested on lorries too in a bid to improve the safety of the capital’s bike riders around large vehicles.

The ASL360 Surround View system was developed by Lewes-based ASL Vision, bought by German tyre giant Continental, which also has a substantial automotive parts business, earlier this year.

Costing up to £3,000, according to the product website,

ASL360 is the world's first ever stand-alone system for industrial vehicles offering the operator a bird's eye real-time view of the vehicle and its surroundings.

The ASL360 Surround View system synthesises a bird's eye image of the vehicle using multiple ultrawide-angle cameras mounted on the front, sides and rear of the vehicle. Ordinarily, the fisheye distortion renders the views from such cameras unusable, but ASL360 deploys heavy duty signal processing to produce usable geometry.

Continental’s Ian Saward and John Powell presented the technology to an audience of cycle campaigners and journalists in London yesterday, with a press release saying that “vehicle visibility issues are no longer an excuse.”

It added: “Incidents that occur in the blind areas of medium to large size vehicles cannot be addressed by currently used mirror configurations, and are in fact foreseeable, and preventable.”

News that TfL, which has come under heavy criticism following the deaths of six cyclists in London last month, all killed in collisions with large vehicles, will deploy the system on a trial basis was confirmed by the city’s cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan.

Attending yesterday’s event, he said: “ASL360 is one of a small number of systems we are interested in which could offer significant safety benefits to cyclists.

“Leon Daniels, the Head of Surface Transport at TfL, Garrett Emmerson, the Chief Operating Office for Surface Transport, and I have all seen it in action.

“TfL will trial it on lorries, and has already been trialling it on buses, to understand whether the safety benefits are proportionate to the costs and whether in the future it might become part of what we require for existing or future vehicles.”

Also speaking at the event, called ‘Reduction of Blind Spots,’ was RoadPeace trustee Cynthia Barlow, whose daughter Alex was killed by a lorry while cycling in London in 2000.

She said: “Anything that increases awareness of what’s around you and increases response time is a good thing.”

Here’s a video showing the ASL360 Surround View system on a London bus.

Details of the trial on a bus made by Alexander Dennis and operated by Go Ahead are given on the ASL 360 website, which says:

“Being such a large and influential company, Go-Ahead are at the forefront of introducing innovative and revolutionary technology into the UK bus market.

“They were quick to identify the numerous potential benefits and uses of the ASL360 Surround View System and have indeed arranged to trial the system on one of their double-decker buses currently running in service in London.

The company adds that the video shows that “the ASL360 Surround View System is providing assistance to the driver of the bus in a way that has never been achieved before.

“The ground-breaking new technology was quickly taken on trial by Go-Ahead for numerous reasons including: Saving the lives of other road users, reduce damage and other costs, reduce false insurance claims etc.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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