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Eliminate blind spots with ASA’s new rear sensor system

A wider field of vision and audiovisual alarms make it easy to back up fire apparatus safely


The new Voyager CVRPS14 Rear Sensor System provides an additional layer of safety, eliminating surprises by enhancing backup cameras with sensors that alert the driver of objects behind the vehicle. (Photo/ASA Electronics)

The following is paid content sponsored by ASA Electronics.

By FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff

Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for on-duty firefighters. Each year, thousands of firefighters are injured by apparatus that are backing up, sometimes fatally.

The traditional system of placing a spotter to help back up a fire apparatus is limited, and the CDC recommends backup cameras, like the ones now standard on most passenger vehicles, to improve firefighter safety.

That’s where the new Voyager CVRPS14 Rear Sensor System comes in. The system is designed to provide additional safeguards by giving drivers more information as they’re backing into a location, particularly when maneuvering in tight situations.

Four independent signals
The Voyager CVRPS14 Rear Sensor System comprises four sensors, placed evenly along the back of the apparatus. Each sensor operates independently, reporting a constant signal as it scans a 60-degree cone of detection to capture people or objects that may enter into range behind the vehicle.

By placing the outer two sensors as close as possible to the edges of the vehicle, that 60-degree cone can pick up potential issues on the sides of the vehicle as well as straight back, said Joe Camacho, national accounts manager for ASA Electronics, which manufactures the rear sensor system.

Specific location information
The four sensors appear as a grid in the onscreen display. If an object is small enough to be caught by just one of the sensors, the system alerts and gives an exact location of where the object is behind the vehicle.

“Some other products will provide an alert that there’s something back there, but they don’t give an exact location of where on the back of the vehicle,” said Camacho. “Whatever sensor is picking up that object, that’s where the indication on the screen will show up as green, yellow or red.”

Stoplight-style warnings
Color-coded warning zones, superimposed on the actual camera images, show the driver how far away a person or object is. As an object gets closer to the vehicle, the boxes will change from green to yellow to red, indicating distances from 0 to 9 feet in 3-foot increments. Those zones can be set to the preference of the user, but out of the box, green indicates 7-9 feet, 4-6 feet is yellow and 0-3 feet is red, indicating the need for an immediate stop.

The sensors don’t detect anything farther than 9 feet, but the system gives the driver an alert to any immediate danger in addition to the standard 15- to 20-foot view provided by a backup camera. This enables much greater visibility than mirrors or a spotter can provide.

No need for a spotter
Many fire crews rely on hand signals between a driver and a spotter to back up safely, but the rear sensor system eliminates the need to potentially place a crew member in harm’s way.

The system also eliminates the shortcomings of using a spotter, because the audible and visual alerts are delivered directly to the cab of the vehicle so the driver does not need to divide his or her attention. Not only can the driver see and hear the images and sounds behind the vehicle, the rear sensor system’s alert beeps and color-coded zones convey just how close a person or object is.

Progressive audio alerts
In addition to the specific visual indicators, the rear sensor system also provides an audible notification if an object is within range behind the vehicle.

These alerts are very similar to a consumer-style reverse sensor that emits a slow, repetitive beep that increases in frequency as an object approaches. In the red zone, the alert becomes a continuous tone to let the driver know an object is in the danger zone and you should not continue to back up.

Installation and compatibility
The Voyager CVRPS14 Rear Sensor System is installed by the original equipment manufacturer when a new apparatus is ordered, or by an installation team as a retrofit.

The system is backwards-compatible, so any vehicle with a current Voyager backup camera system can be retrofitted with the rear sensor system because it uses the same cables. The visual warning and real-time video can be displayed on any attached Voyager monitor or Jensen touch-screen stereo with a camera input.

For apparatus without an existing Voyager or Jensen system, the Voyager CVRPS14 Rear Sensor System can operate as a completely independent solution. Although designed to work in conjunction with the camera system, Camacho says the rear sensor system’s small speaker and visual indicator can be mounted near the driver to provide the audible alerts and flashing LED indicator when an object has been detected while backing up.

Added layer of safety
Camera systems on fire apparatus improve the safety of personnel or other individuals outside the vehicle by improving visibility. The new Voyager CVRPS14 Rear Sensor System provides an additional layer of safety, eliminating surprises by enhancing backup cameras with sensors that alert the driver of objects behind the vehicle as well as objects moving toward or across the rear of the vehicle.

For more information on backup cameras and rear sensor systems, contact ASA Electronics.