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TMHJ Launches "SEnS+" Operator Assist System That Detects and Distinguishes Pedestrians and Objects behind the Forklifts and Automatically Controls the Traveling Speed and Prevents the Truck from Moving Backward

— Assisting forklift operators in identifying pedestrians and objects behind the truck by providing notification and truck control —

Toyota Material Handling Japan ("TMHJ"), a division of Toyota Industries Corporation (President: Akira Onishi), developed "SEnS+ (Sense Plus)*1," the operator assist system with pedestrian and object detection and with the industry's first*2 truck control function. The system distinguishes between pedestrians and objects from among the obstacles behind forklifts and notifies the operator of the approach with a buzzer and lights. Furthermore, it automatically controls the traveling speed and prevents the truck from moving backward in accordance with such conditions as the traveling speed, direction of movement and distance to obstacles. Starting from August 26, we have started providing the system as an option for the Ecore (8FBE series, 3-wheel electric forklift) and will gradually equip it in other models.

In recent years, an automatic braking (collision damage mitigation braking) system has become widespread in the automobile industry as one of the functions of safe driving support vehicles. Accordingly, the development of functions to support safe driving is increasingly under way.
Also for forklifts used at logistics sites where pedestrians and objects co-exist, measures such as safety training programs and the "separation of pedestrians and forklifts*3" are being promoted to prevent contact accidents between forklifts and pedestrians/objects.
Under such circumstances, in order to further improve the safety of forklift operations, there is an increasing need for an automatic function to detect pedestrians and objects when traveling in reverse, which is likely to lead to contact accidents.

Forklifts are often used in an environment where there are an unspecified number of obstacles in addition to pedestrians and forklifts frequently working in close proximity. Work conditions of forklifts are also unique, involving such operations as traveling in reverse during load handling and transportation. To accommodate such requirements, the newly developed SEnS+ is equipped with a specially designed camera and sensing system*4 that utilize our long-standing achievements and experience to detect pedestrians and objects behind the forklifts at a wide angle.Moreover, SEnS+ is the industry's first operator assist system equipped with a truck control function that automatically controls the traveling speed and prevents the forklifts from moving backward according to the forklift conditions. SEnS+ provides an assistance to prevent contacts and collisions arising from erroneous operation or failure to notice, contributing to creating an environment with added safety for forklift operators and surrounding workers.

TMHJ will continue to provide safety operation, which is the basis of our business activities, and strive to improve the working environment of logistics operators.

*1: Short for Smart Eye Sensor Plus
*2: Survey by Toyota Industries Corporation as of July 27, 2021
*3: Measures to regulate the traffic line between pedestrians and forklifts to prevent contacts
*4: Joint development with RICOH Industrial Solutions Inc

The primary features of SEnS+ are as follows.

[Overview of SEnS+ Functions]

  • A camera mounted in the rear of the forklift detects obstacles in a specified detection area, distinguishes pedestrians and objects by utilizing image recognition and timely notifies the operator with a warning buzzer and lights. In addition, the traveling speed and startup of the forklift are automatically controlled according to the forklift conditions such as travelling speed and the direction of movement (turning).* [Industry first]
    * SEnS+ is a system that does not have function in using the brake to decelerate and automatically stop, but gradually decelerates by shutting off the power.
  • Unlike the tag-enabled pedestrian detection system, SEnS+ is able to detect unspecified obstacles (pedestrians and objects), therefore it can be used even at logistics sites with unspecified movement.
  • Industry-leading detection range of a horizontal angle of 130° and approx.10 meters (32.8 ft) behind the forklifts.
    The detection range is automatically adjusted according to the combination of multiple conditions, such as detection target, travelling speed and turning direction in order to reduce unnecessary notification as much as possible.

[Target Models]

Ecore (8FBE Series, 1.0 - 2.0 ton 3-Wheel Electric Forklift)
* Rollouts for models other than the Ecore are planned to be equipped with the system.

News Releases 2021