A Novel Anti-Rollover Tech Is a Lifesaver for Large Trucks

And it saves up to $3.5 billion in damages a year.
Can Emir
The moment Axicle's fifth wheel releases the trailer.Axicle/Youtube

Large trucks possess the risk of rolling over because of various reasons such as high winds, driver error, or the mistakes of other drives. And when a trailer starts to roll over, it also rolls over the tractor, front cabin section of the truck, by hitching and twisting it, eventually slamming the tractor down. 

Large trucks are generally the backbone of the logistics field and you might come across them on long road trips, which makes collisions or even bridge collapses involving them quite usual. In 2019 a total of 4,119 people died in collisions involving large trucks.

Now Axicle, a company from California, is using a sensor and a release mechanism to let the trailer go free to tip over and prevent the tractor from rolling over, New Atlas reported.

Axicle uses a fifth-wheel coupling plate equipped with the Tractor Anti-Roll System (TARS) to prevent the cabin section from rolling over. When the TARS system detects a rollover incident, it fires its pneumatic or pyro linear-actuated anti-rollover release mechanism in a millisecond and frees the trailer off of the back of the truck.

As a tractor’s roll angle increases at a critical roll rate, the trailer is unrecoverable; it must be decoupled to save the tractor and driver. So Axicle came up with a solution to save the tractor and driver by jettisoning the root cause of a rollover; the trailer.

The TARS system monitors the roll angle and rate of the tractor every millisecond, which is faster than any driver or autonomous driving assistance feature. Its algorithm can detect the trailer’s threshold limits and whether a rollover event is unrecoverable with 99.99 percent accuracy, based on a feed-forward physics-based control algorithm.

After detection, the electronics initiate an actuator to decouple the trailer, allowing the tractor to stay safely on its tires. 

Axicle’s fifth wheel, which contains two independent latching mechanisms that are used to secure it to the tractor at an optimal distance apart, is compatible with most rails. The clamping systems only release when their corresponding actuators are triggered during an unrecoverable rollover condition. From there, gravity simply separates the trailer from the vehicle. The Axicle's fifth wheel can either fully detach, or remain attached on one side.

The company estimates that it can save $3.5 billion in damages and over 9,000 deaths and injuries annually. 

Watch Axicle demonstrate its jettisoning abilities using a Boeing 777 as a source of strong wind, and successfully let the trailer loose from the tractor when the critical roll rate is reached. 

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