ELYRIA, Ohio — The age-old red and yellow push/pull knobs used to activate and deactivate truck and trailer parking brakes may soon be a thing of the past, replaced with modern buttons that also improve safety.
Bendix described its new Intellipark electronic parking brake during a conference call with truck journalists Sept. 5. It is undergoing fleet trials with an expected launch next year. The goal is to prevent rollaway crashes, by automatically setting the parking brakes when a driver forgets to – a bigger problem than one may think.
Bendix had Frost & Sullivan conduct a survey, which found 60% of fleets admitted to having at least one rollaway over the past two years.
“Rollaways can cause property damage, vehicle damage, or even loss of a life,” said Rebecca Carter, product manager, specialty valves with Bendix.
Intellipark will know when the driver is no longer in control of the vehicle, by monitoring door status, speed, seatbelt usage and whether or not the driver’s foot is on the pedal. If the truck isn’t properly parked, it will activate the parking brake.
“We want to solve those rollaway events that are happening too often,” Carter said.
The electronic parking brake will also allow other functionality, including auto-park release, which can automatically release the trailer brake when the truck is moving to reduce tire flatspotting and wheel-end damage, and park-at-speed, which will help keep the truck under control when the parking brakes are applied while driving. The electronic switches are also easier to activate and deactivate than the traditional knobs, Bendix officials said, noting they can be applied with the push of a single finger.
The switches will still display the familiar red and yellow symbols, but will also have an LED light to display the status of the parking brakes. If a driver mistakenly exits the truck without activating the parking brake, Intellipark will automatically apply them.
Fleets will also be able to identify drivers who forget to engage or disengage the parking brakes through Bendix’s SafetyDirect portal.
“This enables fleet managers to use the information to help with driver training as part of an overall safety program,” said Fred Andersky, director of customer solutions – controls.
The electronic parking brake will also be crucial to allowing the operation of autonomous trucks in the future, Andersky noted.
Bendix also announced new BlindSpotter features, providing side object detection. An upgraded radar can alert drivers of vehicles in adjacent lanes on the passenger side of the tractor-trailer. The radar features a wider field of view than the previous version, seeing up to 2.5 times farther in each direction. It can now see objects up to 20 feet in front of, and 20 feet behind the BlindSpotter radar, with coverage extending up to 10 feet to the right of the vehicle.
It also features a slow-speed warning mode at speeds of less than 20 mph, to help during city driving or in parking lots. The new BlindSpotter can be integrated with Bendix Wingman Fusion.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies