TU Wien awards Porsche Prize: Camera system makes trucks safer
A camera system that replaces exterior mirrors on trucks and ensures greater safety has now been awarded the Porsche Prize of TU Wien.
In a large, wide truck, it is not easy to always keep an overview. Rearview mirrors have blind spots, especially when turning, but dangerous situations can also occur at night. Prof. Uwe Baake (Daimler Trucks) and Dr. Werner Lang (MEKRA Lang) have now found a solution to this problem: They developed an innovative camera system that replaces rearview mirrors and makes truck driving safer. For this they have now been awarded the Porsche Prize of TU Wien, which is presented every two years for outstanding achievements in automotive engineering.
Camera instead of rearview mirror
If Uwe Baake and Werner Lang have their way, there will be no more looking through the side window at a side mirror in the truck of the future. Instead, a portrait screen will be installed inside the vehicle. On the outside of the vehicle, there are adaptable cameras that provide the necessary image material.
This results in a whole range of advantages: The image section can be adjusted depending on the driving situation, and blind spots are avoided. The image can be optimized so that you can see well at night or in bad weather. The screen is also an advance in ergonomic terms: you don’t have to turn your head when driving a truck, you always have a good view of the screen. At the same time, handling the new technology is similar enough to the conventional side mirror not to require a familiarization phase – it’s easy to handle the screen technology intuitively right from the start.
Guidelines or distance warnings can be displayed on the screen. This makes it easier to estimate distances correctly. When reversing, another camera perspective can be switched on automatically. The system also offers the option of recording data so that in the event of an accident it is easy to clarify what happened. During a break, when the curtains are drawn in the parked truck, the camera system can be used to keep an eye on the vehicle’s surroundings. In addition, the technology also reduces fuel consumption because small exterior cameras can be built with much better aerodynamic properties than large rearview mirrors.
Uwe Baake and Werner Lang were responsible for developing the camera exterior mirror system. Prof. Uwe Baake studied electrical engineering at Darmstadt Technical University, where he also earned his doctorate. In 1995, he began his career at the then Daimler-Benz AG, rising to become Head of “Product Development Bus” at Mercedes-Benz do Brasil and then to head of computer-aided engineering for trucks, buses and vans. Today he is Head of Product Development Daimler Trucks.
Dr. Werner Lang studied mechanical engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg and the Technical University of Munich, where he also obtained his doctorate. In 1998, he began his career at BMW AG in Munich in transmission development and procurement. In 2004, he joined the management team at MEKRA Lang, where he was responsible for development, quality, sales and production at the Ergersheim site. Since 2006, he has been managing director responsible for development, quality and sales globally and for the electronics business of the Lang Group. He also serves on the supervisory boards of other foreign subsidiaries (e.g. in China).
Porsche Award Ceremony 2019
On Friday, October 4, 2019, Uwe Baake and Werner Lang were awarded the Porsche Prize of the TU Wien for the development of the camera exterior mirror system. The prize was presented by TU Rector Sabine Seidler, together with Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG, and Dr. Hans Michel Piëch, Member of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG. Unfortunately, the two prize winners were unable to attend – the prize for Uwe Baake was accepted by Stephan Kramb, the prize for Werner Lang by Jan Snel.
The 50,000 euro prize was awarded for the 21st time. It was donated in 1976 by Louise Piëch, the daughter of Ferdinand Porsche, and has been awarded every two years since 1977 by the TU Wien. It is one of the most highly endowed awards for pioneering research and development work in the field of automotive engineering. The prize money is shared equally by Porsche Holding, Salzburg, and Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart.