A Lewes company at the cutting edge of road safety improvements has been taken over by a global giant in the industry.
ASL Vision has been acquired for an undisclosed price by Continental Automotive, the fourth largest automotive supplier in the world.
Ian Saward, Managing Director of ASL Vision, said the takeover was testament to his company’s “capabilities, our technology and competences and the fact that ‘driver assistance’ systems are a major growth area seen to reduce accidents on the roads.”
One such safety innovation by the electronics/software specialist is currently being trialled on a London double-decker bus – and the iconic vehicle paid a visit to the headquarters at The Riverside Centre, Railway Lane.
It has been fitted with ASL’s equipment which allows 360-degree vision for drivers, eliminating blind spots, and has been tested by GoAhead London in the capital for more than a year.
Mr Saward said: “We have significant technology and know-how for so-called ‘driver assistance systems’ for passenger cars – for example the BMW 7 series in production since 2008.
“Since 2010 we have been trying to apply systems to large vehicles such as buses, lorries and waste collection vehicles to reduce accidents and fatalities.”
He said between 15 and 20 cyclists are killed in London every year in accidents involving such vehicles turning left. The idea is to get more cyclists on the roads in safety and to reduce the overall number of vehicle accidents.
“But it is not so easy to persuade operators and vehicle makers to adopt such systems due to economics, unless of course they have first-hand experience of a fatality or serious injury,” continued Mr Saward. “Our system as been on trial on a double-decker with GoAhead London for more than a year and in other market segments, such as mining.”
His company now has a significant following on Twitter [@asl360] from cyclists – the road users most at risk – following its stand at the London Bike Show.
Mr Saward said of the takeover company: “Continental produces radar systems and automatic braking systems such as the one currently part of a City Safety campaign by Volvo cars. Continental has created a new business within its group, based on ASL Vision.”
Friedrich Angerbauer, Continental’s head of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, visited Lewes to see for himself the ASL360 surround view on the bus.