Bendix’s ABS-6 Advanced with ESP (electronic stability program) is not just for tractor-trailers anymore. Case in point, the manufacturer invited the press to go behind the wheel to witness the system in action in a variety of applications, including a tractor pulling a double trailer, cement mixers, a bus, and two bobtail tractors here at the Keweenaw Research Center winter test sites in balmy Houghton, MI.
The equipped vehicles were:
- Volvo VT 880 and Peterbilt 387 bobtails
- Mack Granite and Peterbilt 357 cement mixers
- Volvo VN tractor pulling a double trailer
- Prevost motor coach.
Drivers were instructed to put the test vehicles into a spinout at three test courses, which offered dry pavement, packed snow and ice, and pure ice. In every application, the system demonstrated its ability to effectively steer the truck in the direction the driver wants as the vehicle regains stability by automatically cutting the throttle when appropriate and selectively applying key brakes. The result: a system that reduces the likelihood of rollovers and jackknifes in any driving condition—dry, wet, snow or ice. And now Bendix is hoping that the expansion into new markets will have bus fleets, vocational users and those pulling doubles buying in.
“When the driver makes some quick corrections, that’s when the system will really help,” said Kevin Romanchok, Bendix product line director- electronics. “It allows the driver to steer and avoid the plowing effect.”
Romanchok said that the system raises a driver’s margin of error in those split-second maneuvers and that could make the difference between an incident and a close call.
“Many of the fleets we’ve talked to say that their drivers are very safe but they get into situations where other drivers cut in front of them,” Romanchok explained. And if the system were to prevent just one collision, then it has already paid for itself, he said.
The challenge for many fleets is quantifying return on investment as there isn’t any reliable data that measures the number of accidents avoided as a direct result of the Bendix system. To address this, Bendix offers a calculating tool that determines a purchase price range for the system that would meet a customer’s ROI goals based on the fleet’s accident rate and costs and the projected stability systems effectiveness.
The premium ABS-6 Advanced with ESP system will be offered as standard equipment on new Volvo Trucks, while Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt and International offer the base ABS-6 system standard and ABS-6 Advanced with ESP as an option. In 2006, the manufacturer says the system will be available on 60% to 70% of Class 8 tractor configurations sold by those OEMs.
Looking to the future, Bendix said that it is working with telematics companies to develop an integrated solution that addresses other fleet needs such as real-time information, incident response, and reconstruction and coordination by combine wireless communications with electronic on-board recorders. The ABS-6 system is capable of storing key information such as technical issues, event memory and the magnitude in which the system countered instability.
Additionally, Bendix noted that the system is an enabler of more advanced accident avoidance systems. With ABS-6 Advanced with ESP offering yaw and roll control, the next step would be partly automating longitudinal control. Bendix said combined with existing radar and sensor technologies, such a capability would help vehicles avoid or reduce the severity of a rear-end collision by enabling automated braking. At the highest levels of the technology, Bendix envisions a system that partly automates obstacle avoidance via complex maneuvers.
For more information, go to www.bendix.com/abs6.