Preco Electronics earns 2019 Commercialized Innovation of the Year

Preco Electronics earns 2019 Commercialized Innovation of the Year

Preco's PreView Side Defender II received the award at the Idaho Innovation Awards Oct. 23.


Preco Electronics, based in Boise, Idaho, has announced its PreView Side Defender II was named the 2019 Commercialized Innovation of the Year, one of five competing categories for the Idaho Innovation Awards. Designed to eliminate deaths caused by turning heavy-duty equipment in crowded, low-speed environments, the Side Defender II is the second Preco product to receive the innovation award after the PreView Sentry Plus won in 2017.

“Our engineering team had strict specifications that needed to be met,” says Jon Cole, Preco’s lead engineer for Side Defender II. “There was no solution like it on the market, and we were up against high-level competitors. At the time, it was a challenge that seemed insurmountable. But, from development and testing to manufacturing, we rose to the challenge and exceeded all requirements.”

Established in 2006, the annual Idaho Innovation Awards is Idaho’s first and only innovation awards program. The program recognizes innovations, innovative professionals and companies throughout the state.

Commercial vehicle safety issues have gained international attention as bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users (VRU) are more and more frequently involved in collisions with turning trucks and buses on city streets. The European Union (EU) is currently moving toward legislation mandating turn assist safety technology for heavy-duty vehicles, and Vision Zero cities in North America are asking commercial truck fleets to take similar action.

Developed in response to these global initiatives to avoid fatalities, Side Defender II’s radar-based system provides collision warning capabilities that actively monitor the vehicle's side blind spots, detecting moving VRUs within the detection zone. In addition, Preco says third-party testing has shown the Side Defender II to be the most accurate system with fewer false alerts than any other available, successfully minimizing risk, improving safety and reducing incident rates.

Designed for use on trucks, buses, and other medium and heavy-duty on-road equipment, Side Defender II’s sensors are built rugged, optimal for industries within environments requiring robust, reliable solutions.

Finalists were recognized during the 14th Annual Idaho Technology Council Hall of Fame featuring the Idaho Innovation Awards. A selection committee comprised of more than 30 leaders from Idaho's technology, business and academic communities evaluated the nominations.

Stoel Rives presented the 2019 Idaho Innovation Awards on Oct. 23 at the Boise Centre. The event featured keynote speaker Intuit Chairman of the Board, Brad Smith. The Idaho National Laboratory and J.R. Simplot Company were named this year’s inductees into the Hall of Fame. Specializing in technology and innovation, these companies have grown from local ideas to startups and now powerhouses and leaders of change and innovation.

“I was impressed with Preco's proprietary technology that allows Side Defender II to successfully identify pedestrians and bicyclists versus stationary objects,” committee member Denise Dunlap, the co-founder and managing partner at Loon Creek Capital Group LLC, says. “This technology will become more important as the number of VRUs increases on our streets and highways. I am proud that we have companies such as Preco building innovative solutions to worldwide problems right here in Idaho.”

With partners, dealers, and numerous original equipment manufacturers (OEM) around the world, Preco says it is committed to mitigating the broad and complex safety issues facing heavy-duty industries, delivering advanced collision warning systems around the world. One such example is the recently announced partnership with Sweden-based Scania, a division of Traton, Volkswagen Group.

“This was an incredible project, and our team was up to the task. Side Defender II is the product of [a] team effort, not just from engineering, but from sales, business development, and everyone in production and manufacturing,” Cole says.

Preco designs, engineers and manufactures in-house. All safety products go through rigorous industry testing to ensure reliable performance in harsh working conditions imaginable, so operators and fleets can perform with greater confidence and peace of mind.

“Side Defender II has been recognized globally, namely in ADAC [the General German Automobile Club] testing service’s recent EU side turn assist comparison, as the industry’s most accurate and reliable side collision mitigation solution for urban environments,” says Preco CEO Jim Bean. “We have led the safety industry for over 70 years, and this award is a product of PRECO’s experience and achievement. Side Defender II is just the beginning of what will come of our teams’ innovative potential."