A collision warning system (CWS) is designed to alert the driver to imminent danger and, when programmed to do so, take evasive action. This is a common option on today’s high-end vehicles, which use a combination of radar, microwave, and optical (camera) sensing to function. One collision warning system, called the Eaton VORAD system, has predominated in the trucking industry since the introduction of this technology. Because of this, we are going to base our description of CWS primarily on VORAD.
VORAD is a loose acronym for Vehicle Onboard RADar. The word radar comes from the initial letters of RAdio Detecting And Ranging. Radar is capable of precisely measuring both distance and relative speed. VORAD uses radar, laser, and microwave technology to sense some specific vehicle danger conditions. It senses straight-ahead closing velocities and proximity as well as blind side proximity. It has been proven to reduce accident rates and is appealing to fleet operations with higher-than-average accident rates because it can also reduce insurance payments. Radar systems were first used because they required simple processors. In more sophisticated systems, a radar CWS platform may be complemented by video.