When a semi truck rolls over, drivers behind the wheel have a nearly 50-50 chance of living or dying — but one company has developed a trailer attachment plate that’s designed to keep loads from blowing over, even when facing down the powerful blast of a jet engine.
Axicle, a Californian company, has been talking about its Tractor Anti-Roll System (TARS) safety device for over a year, but now, there’s actually a video that shows just how this bad boy is supposed to work, News Atlas reports.
Here’s a little more about how it works:
The company’s fifth-wheel coupling plate is equipped with a Tractor Anti-Roll System (TARS), which features an inertial measurement unit and sensors to detect information on coupling, vibration and wind, and engage a release mechanism if a rollover incident is detected. In the space of a millisecond, it can detach the trailer from the back of the truck and keep the cabin (and driver) in the upright position.
To demonstrate the capabilities of its technology, Axicle set up a demonstration pitting a semi against a Boeing 777 jet engine pointed directly at the trailer. You can check out the full video on YouTube:
Of course, this is a highly-edited video that doesn’t show a live view of exactly what happened when the semi takes on the jet engine blast. From what we can see, the rig withstands the force of the air for a few seconds before it starts to tip. TARS then activates, decoupling the trailer from the cab. The load tips onto its side while the cab remains upright. In a real-life situation, that would mean the trucker and his cab would have survived.
Axicle founder Steve Krug told News Atlas that TARS has gone through 100 miles of on-road testing, which it hopes to use as leverage to attract investors, enabling his company to set up a full-scale manufacturing and testing endeavor.
Truckers involved in a semi rollover have a 47 percent chance of dying compared to the 20 percent of car or SUV drivers who die in rollovers, the IIHS reports. The sheer size of the loaded semi, along with the precarious weight of its loads, make it a prime target for an unstoppable rollover. A lot of those rollovers come as the result of high winds that push the semi’s load sideways and pull the cab with it.
Axicle says it hopes its device will prevent 9,000 trucker deaths and injuries in the United States alone. If it works here, there’s a pretty damn good chance we’ll see it implemented around the world.