ELYRIA, Oh. - When facing challenging driving conditions, automatic traction control (ATC) can be a truck driver's best friend. It adjusts engine torque and wheel spin to help drivers gain maximum tra...
ELYRIA, Oh. – When facing challenging driving conditions, automatic traction control (ATC) can be a truck driver’s best friend. It adjusts engine torque and wheel spin to help drivers gain maximum traction in slippery situations.
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems says it has developed a new generation of ATC taking traction control to the next level.
“What we found with the conventional ATC-type system was that there were certain elements when the vehicle is in slippery conditions that we thought we could improve,” says Kevin Romanchok, product line director for electronic brakes.
To that end, Bendix developed Smart ATC, a system that can distinguish between the two most common situations that require ATC support – ascending a slippery hill and cornering.
While ascending hills often requires the traction control to deliver increased traction, cornering requires increased stability and less wheel spin.
Smart ATC distinguishes between the two scenarios and responds appropriately, says Romanchok.
“The nice thing about the system itself is that it doesn’t involve any additional training,” says Romanchok. “It matches what we found drivers were traditionally doing.”
For example, when a truck starts to slip while ascending a hill, the driver generally steps on the throttle. Smart ATC is designed to respond to that driver’s reaction.
“If a driver has the accelerator pressed for the most part, fully down, we allow the wheels to spin at a higher speed than what we’d normally do with conventional ATC,” says Romanchok.
This allows the wheels to chew through snow and ice to reach the pavement below.
The other key development with the Smart ATC system is that it reduces the need to downshift because it better controls engine torque.
The increased stability that occurs while cornering is more subtle, says Romanchok. Most drivers won’t notice the improvements unless testing the system out on a closed-course track.
“Typically a driver does not recognize when his wheels are spinning when going into a curve,” says Romanchok.
“When we detect that the vehicle is in a turn, we dramatically reduce the amount of wheel slip that we allow. The wheels continue to spin but at a much lower rate which prevents jackknives.”
Bendix began shipping the Smart ATC system earlier this year, and so far feedback has been great, the company says.
“It’s not that the traction control available today is unsafe, this is just a second generation of it,” says Romanchok.
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