A Blast from The Past with Global’s Founder and CEO
Recently our CEO Gordon Cooper had a chance to reminisce about the early days of Global Sensor Systems (GSS).
GSS was ahead of its time, being one of the first fleet safety solutions. Long before GPS and backup cameras. “It was a different world back then,” Gordon recalls. “There was little competition and very few vehicle backing safety products on the market.”
Gordon remembers his first experience with what safety and braking technologies of the day had to offer. His first blast from the past has to do with the one company in California’s attempts to build a working solution of a backing accident prevention system.
“At the time the most advanced system besides our own was called ‘Back Safe’, a product designed by Chuck Vial which was sold out of Orange, California. ‘Back Safe’ was one of the only known alternatives to our system on the market at the time. The ‘Back Safe’ system was a series of metal bars, hinges, springs, and relay switches, the device was acting as a second bumper. When met with physical contact against the protruding metal bar, a signal was sent to the brakes and the brakes were applied. Somewhat like our systems but without the magic of not having to hit an object, clearly an early alternative.”
“These early alternatives to ours relied on metal bars, valves and springs to stop the vehicle. It was a more mechanical approach. If something collided with the rear bar, the bar bent down by stretching the springs, the micro switch sent a signal to the air valves and the vehicle’s brakes were applied. This system relied on an object or person to come in contact with the reversing vehicle, which differs from our infrared sensors which stops the vehicle proactively, or before the collision happens.
Another issue with mechanical systems is the reliance on the many parts that make up a system to all be functioning for the system to work. While this is true of all integrated systems, mechanical ones offer up many more opportunities for failure. Gordon looked back on this saying, “I remember stories that the springs would get old and loose and allow the bar to bounce up and down as the truck went over bumps. Which would set off the brakes. “
The differences in how the products of the past and the products of today function are mostly related to how they respond to the environment around them. Many older systems reacted to the environment as it came to them. Today’s systems are looking around the environment, scanning it, or collecting information from satellites to build a picture that can respond before accidents happen and provide drivers with the most accurate information.
Needless to say, backing accidents are not new. GSS can proudly state that since the late 1970s, they have been, and still remain to be, the only backing accident prevention system that reduces backing accidents by 80%- no pressure.