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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Acklea and Moshon Data have teamed up to improve highway safety with RadViz radar reflector.

Acklea recently announced (25 October 2021) Acklea traffic management vehicle specialist has partnered with Moshon Data, manufacturer & consultants in ADAS testing & development to become the sole distributor of the Moshon RadViz.

Here we take a look at the Limitations of AEB systems and to see why and how the low cost Radviz reflector can make a difference.

In the words of Thatcham UK: “Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is probably the most important development in car safety since the seat belt and could save an incredible 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next decade” – and this is just the UK, imagine how these numbers will increase around the world?

From 2016 it was mandatory for all trucks to be fitted with AEB, plus it has now been mandated to be fitted to all new car models by the European Commission by mid-2022, and all new cars by 2024, this technology is only heading in one direction

However, as good as AEB is, it’s not infallible…

For instance, it should be noted that some vehicles are more detectable by the technology than others; some AEB systems use Radar only, others use Radar and Camera and/or LiDAR fusion. For example, when fusion is involved, the vehicle tends to have an improved detection rate. This leads us to question: can anything be done to a given vehicle to improve its radar visibility to other AEB equipped vehicles?

Moshon Data (MD) is a known manufacturer in the automotive test industry of soft targets that enable ADAS engineers, like Thatcham UK and others, to test active safety sensor technology. Figure 1 shows the Euro NCAP EVT used to test AEB systems.

Radar-based AEBS are developed to recognise standardised vehicle formats. However, they often fail to recognise adapted or unusual vehicle silhouettes.

The conundrum of AEB detection failure led MD to seek a solution. Indeed, we know the soft targets are radar ‘tuned’ to be detectable by AEB technology. Therefore, could the main radar visible component also be used to make poorly detectable vehicles more detectable?

It was from this thinking that the RadViz was born; a product designed to make ‘hard to detect’ unusually shaped objects like crash cushions, trailers, tractors more visible.

Small and innovative, this very low-cost product is radar visible because radar systems have been ‘tuned’ to detect it all over the world.

Is this all theory?

It was, but data from tests conducted over the last three years or so with Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) and the Dutch Highways Authority (RDW) in the Netherlands have proven the theory to be correct. This ongoing work continues in the UK where MD has teamed up with Acklea, the UK’s leading traffic management specialist. More about this later.

It started when RWS and RDW commissioned Royal HaskoningDHV to orchestrate a series of tests designed to understand if the introduction of ADAS systems will result in safety gains in relation to different control measures used during construction work.

In their tests, the vehicle systems must detect the objects or vehicles that make up the traffic control measure on time.

To answer the study's basic question, three different tests were executed:

1. Stationary test objects, test vehicles swerved

2. Moving test object, test vehicles swerved

3. Stationary test objects, test vehicles did not swerve

As well as the vehicle types listed in Table 1, some of Moshon’s soft foam targets were used in the tests. Results were then analysed and percentage detection was reported, also in Table 1.

Table 1

You will see that one of MD’s simple foam slab EVT-based targets was detectable by a larger percentage than any other vehicle tested that day – 81%. Probably not unusual since its design is based on that of the EVT as used by Thatcham and other test centres around the world.

More interestingly on its own, the simple foam pillar with a 77GHz tuned trihedral reflector (The RadViz design) could be detected up to 18% more than many trucks, trailers, and tractors. These figures are based on the tests here and validated in further tests. The only reason the RadViz is not a higher percentage is that the 81% top-rated slab foam target has other camera and LiDAR recognisable features built into it making it more visible to fusion systems.

What we can clearly see here from the detection figures is that by adding a RadViz we can significantly improve the detectability of ‘hard to detect’ objects/vehicles such as crash cushions, flatbed trucks, trailers all of which have poor detectability, and make them more visible to many AEB radar-equipped vehicles on the road today – and most importantly, how many lives this percentage equates to doesn’t bear thinking about.

So significant is this finding, RDW has now decreed a RadViz to be fitted to all ‘hard to detect’ road working vehicles in the Netherlands.

Continuing the work in the UK, Moshon Data are working with Acklea to further improve the test results, not only increasing the RCS score but also archived a positive identification by fitting two reflectors in the optimum position identifying as a vehicle to the radar system.

Radviz can be fitted to the rear of all vehicles to give a characterised improvement in the radar RCS score.

Armed with a development kit containing automotive production-grade radar sensors that can display and log what an AEB equipped car sees, MD and Acklea hit the road to test various crash cushioned ‘vehicles with the goal of optimising the percentage detectability and mounting locations.

For the optimum fitting location of the Radviz a test can be carried out as detailed below. This will give documented evidence of the RCS score before and after fitting the Radviz.

The example in Figure 2 shows an aerial view of a typical test location, and a Scorpion Crash Cushion which now has optimised RadViz installation kits available from Acklea ready to roll out to most makes of crash cushion.

Consider this: Maybe you work on the highways or drive a road working vehicle every day, and one that currently falls into the low detection rate category to many AEB equipped vehicles… Wouldn’t you feel safer if something could be added that would increase its ability to be detected by other vehicles?

The overall conclusion is that if a device can be added that could save even one extra life, we have been successful.

There is more work to be done here though, so tests continue today that will bring cameras and LiDAR into the technology mix that will increase that percentage even further - so watch this space.

Where to Buy

Acklea is the sole distributer for Radviz and can be purchased by contacting

Further references:

Videos about the tests conducted are on the video link here:

· Truck AEB field tests:

· Trucks and road works:

For more information about any of this please contact

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