TJ Thomas explains the inner workings of Bendix39s new Wingman Fusion safety system

TJ Thomas explains the inner workings of Bendix's new Wingman Fusion safety system.

Bendix introduces Wingman Fusion driver assistance system

LOUISVILLE, KY. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC rolled out its new Wingman Fusion driver assistance system (DAS) here at the 2015 Mid America Trucking Show; a system that combines forward-looking cameras, radar, and electronic stability control (ESC) to provide automatic braking for stationary vehicles as well as over-speeding alerts.

TJ Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix’s controls group, explains that the combination of camera and radar technologies allows for “computational confirmation” and alert prioritization, among many other new advances.

Wingman Fusion – activated at speeds above 15 mph – uses both radar and camera data to plot the position of both moving and stationary metallic vehicles and objects.

Thomas said that if the system definitively recognizes a large, stationary, metallic, in-lane object as a vehicle, it notifies the driver up to 3.5 seconds before a potential impact. If the driver takes no action to avoid or mitigate this potentially severe impact, the system can automatically engage the brakes to assist in lessening the severity of, or possibly avoiding, a potential collision altogether, he added.

However, Thomas stressed that if the system’s data do not definitively recognize the stationary object as a vehicle, it will alert the driver up to 3 seconds ahead of a potential impact but not deploy the brakes.

Wingman Fusion’s over-speeding function can be activated at 37 mph or above and uses the system’s camera to read roadside speed limit signs, working in tandem with Bendix’s electronic stability program (ESP) to alert the driver when the vehicle is traveling a specified amount over the posted limit.

  • The system provides two customizable levels of intervention, he said: Level one, initially set for 5 to 9 mph over the limit, is an audible warning;
  • Level two, if the vehicle is traveling 10 mph or more over the limit, is an audible alert accompanied by a one-second engine de-throttle.
  • Additionally, for a level two speeding event, 20 seconds of video is captured by the system, with 10 seconds of it transmitted wirelessly back to the fleet via Bendix’s SafetyDirect program.

“Those speed limit parameters can be adjusted according to a fleet’s policy,” Thomas said, adding that drivers should actually like this feature particularly in road construction areas, where speed limit changes may not be available to navigation devices.

He noted that Wingman Fusion is available now to all major North American manufacturers of Class 8 trucks for integration into their vehicle platforms.

Thomas stressed that such safety systems are designed to complement safe driving practices and are not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving. “Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times,” he emphasized.

Bendix also made several announcements at MATS this year:

  • The new Bendix AD-R Air Dryer is being introduced as a bolt-in replacement solution in the aftermarket, designed to meet the specific air dryer requirements of many Volvo and Mack trucks equipped with remote purge tanks. Well-suited for applications that involve long compressor cycles and frequent starts and stops, the AD-RP is available in two versions: a standard iteration that includes a turbo cut-off valve, with a second model featuring a discharge line unloader compatible with vehicles requiring twin cylinder compressors;
  • The company noted that it’s delivered more than 375,000 Bendix ESP units to date, with expectations of reaching 450,000 by the end of 2015;
  • A new water-cooled, aluminum-crankcase air compressor design is in the works at Bendix, which aims to reduce weight by over 40% compared to the current Bendix BA-921 unit. It also measures 25% less in length while helping increase overall fuel efficiency by reducing power consumption up to 30%;
  • The SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is being added as a factory-installed option on Freightliner’s Cascadia and Cascadia Evolution models;
  • The company is expanding the reach of its Bendix TABS-6 trailer roll stability system, with a variety of new kits for automatic trailer lift axle control;
  • Finally, 2015 marks the 85th anniversary of Bendix – originally formed in 1930 by the merger of Bendix Aviation Company and Westinghouse Air Brake. Bendix moved its headquarters to Northeast Ohio in 1941, then in 2002 joined the Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group.
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