ATLANTA. WABCO Holdings is moving into active steering systems with the introduction of OnLaneASSIST, which combines steering technology and a forward-looking camera to provide lane-correction functionality.
OnLaneASSIST was one of several announcements made by WABCO at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show, and reflects the company’s growing commitment within the continent, said Jon Morrison, president of the Americas for WABCO.
The new system, expected to be commercially available in the coming years, comes on the heels of the acquisition of R.H. Sheppard Co. and the signing of a cooperation agreement with Nexteer Automotive.
“This is a major milestone for WABCO and a major milestone for the Americas,” Morrison told Fleet Owner. “It adds a dimension to WABCO that is unique, where we have the braking and steering all under one roof.”
He added that it is an exciting development that the “the center of compentancy for steering is in North America. We expect to take the technology globally.”
WABCO said the system can autonomously intervene before a truck accidently leaves its lane by applying a correction torque to the steering wheel to return the vehicle towards the lane center.
For Morrison, WABCO’s purchase of Pennsylvania-based Sheppard and the company’s decision to buy out the Meritor WABCO joint venture meant his employee base in the United States jumped to about 1,500 from 500.
Morrison said WABCO and Meritor “came to the conclusion this would be the right time for this move.” The joint venture had sold and distributed a range of WABCO’s technologies for commercial vehicles in North America.WABCO chairman and CEO Jacques Esculier
Meanwhile, at NACV, WABCO chairman and CEO Jacques Esculier also said under development is the OnGuard Max product, which can automatically brake in all weather conditions against stationary objects. It is the next generation of the OnGuard Active system the company offers.
Esculier also shared updates on how ongoing platooning testing and WABCO’s momentum in the air disc brake market were additional building blocks toward safer highways – and ultimately autonomous driving.
He said the OnGuard Platoon product was under development, and one day could lead to trucks less than 1.5 seconds apart. With further advances that could shrink to a half-second, offering major fuel economy benefits.
While speaking of fuel economy, Esculier also touted OptiFlow trailer skirts and the AutoTail automatically deploying and retracting system for the back of trailers.
Morrison said 2018 could be the “year of the trailer,” with a number of intelligent systems coming together to offer fleets further safety and efficiency benefits.
He also noted that North America is a rapidly growing market for WABCO, with one-quarter of its total project revenue to come from the contintent in 2018, up from 14% in 2016.
In March, the company opened a new air brake manufacturing facility in South Carolina, requiring a $20 million investment. “This shows our full commitment to the Americas. It demonstrates really committed to this market,” he said.