An end to vehicle rollovers?

French armoured vehicles manufacturers Nexter and Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) together with the STAT, the French Army’s technical department, are evaluating a Spanish-developed technology which warns drivers that their vehicle is about to rollover.

A fatal tractor accident in Spain (photo credit: DTA EBT)

A fatal tractor accident in Spain (photo credit: DTA EBT)

The technology belongs to a four-person Spanish company, Desarrollo Tecnológico Agroindustrial EBT (DTA EBT), founded in 2005 and based in Córdoba, which initially developed a similar product for agricultural and forestry machinery, such as tractors, to try and cut the high fatality rate amongst Spanish tractor drivers.

Fernando Chacón, the company manager, told FOB that DTA had had a meeting last week with the STAT, Nexter and RTD and that “we are talking,” although he stressed that “this doesn’t mean we’ve signed anything or sold anything yet.

His company was approached in 2012 by the Spanish Army which wanted a warning system to alert drivers to the risk of their vehicle rolling over after it emerged that the RG-31 Nyala, manufactured by BAE Systems South Africa but assembled in Spain by General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS), not only had an excellent capacity to protect the crew when it was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, but also that it was subject to tipping over, particularly when driven by trainee drivers. This is because the requirements that the vehicle should be Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) protected led to a design placing its centre of gravity much higher than that of many other armoured vehicles.

An RG-31 rolled over in Afghanistan

An RG-31 rolled over in Afghanistan (photo credit: US Army)

 

DTA EBT, together with the AGR 126 research group from the Agro-engineering department of the University of Córdoba, adapted a technology they had already developed for agricultural machinery and came up with Inclisafe RGIS1 which analyses the stability of a moving vehicle and predicts the risk of tipping over, issuing increasingly insistent sound and light alarms as the risk gets greater so that the driver has time to take corrective action. The small device, set inside the driving cab, can be set to take account of the driver’s experience and the mission.

Devices already existed which could measure an angle of inclination but these did not take into account factors such as speed, lateral acceleration, frontal acceleration, angle of velocity, lateral inclination, frontal inclination and speed of turn which all contribute to a vehicle overturning, or not.

The system was installed on 113 RG-31 Nyalas starting in 2013 and has proved so successful that the Spanish army is currently having it installed on its recently acquired Navistar Maxxpro MRAP Recovery Vehicles and it will also be installed in series on the 734 new 4×4 cross country Iveco M170.33 WM trucks which are currently being delivered to the Spanish defence ministry.

DTA EBT has signed an agreement with Start Defence Logistics & Engineering to distribute and market Inclisafe RGIS1 in a number of countries.