FM Conway in industry first with auto-stop safety technology  

FM Conway has joined forces with vehicle safety technology company Innovative Safety Systems Ltd (ISS) to improve the safety of its vehicles on construction sites and prevent reversing accidents.

The leading infrastructure services company has retrofitted its entire fleet of road sweepers, which are primarily used to support its surfacing business, with ISS radar and auto-stop technology to manage the risk of accidents.

The business commissioned ISS to develop the bespoke auto-stop reverse radar system.  Using sensor technology, the system automatically applies the vehicle’s brakes when an object comes within four metres of the vehicle, coming to a complete and controlled stop.

FM Conway uses sweepers across its core highways services, but especially for its surfacing division.  Although sweepers typically move at slow speeds in this environment, the nature of surfacing works often means that large number of construction personnel are required to operate in close proximity to machinery and on-site obstacles, raising the risk of accidents.

John Tobin, asset manager at FM Conway, said: “We are constantly looking for innovative ideas to drive even safer working practices, ensuring that our teams and members of the public go home safe and healthy at the end of each day.

“With ISS we challenged them to deliver a new solution in auto-braking technology in the hazardous area of road sweeping.  Following a successful trial are now pleased to have been able to roll this out across our sweeper fleet.

“Importantly, this system is designed to support drivers as a critical risk control measure, and not to replace our focus on supervision, training, and positional safety.  The new system will enable us to track how often the technology is being deployed – meaning that we can identify the need for further training to ensure that safe practices become fully embedded across our teams.”

Oliver Hoadley, Sales Director, ISS said: “The radar is fitted to the back of each vehicle and can detect objects up to 30m.  If anything gets within six metres an alarm sounds in the cab along with an LED warning light. However, we have developed the system a stage further by integrating programmable auto-stop technology. If the vehicle continues to move past a set distance, as specified by the customer, the brakes are then applied.

“We’ve also ensured that the radar is the exact width of the sweeper meaning that there is minimal interference from other objects, such as street furniture and parked cars, which is a common cause of false alarming.”

The system has additional features to enhance its performance when compared with other radar systems. It operates on a 24ghz frequency, which means it is arguably the most powerful and accurate reverse radar detection system available. It is also installed in a way that is approved by VOSA as well as numerous vehicle manufacturers.

A leading vehicle safety technology company, ISS’ product range includes the Cyclear™ (Cyclist Safety Warning Device), the Reaclear reversing aid, 360 Vehicle Camera Systems, Hard Disk Recording, Remote Footage Download Systems, reversing radar and vehicle-tracking systems.