Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems offers adaptive cruise control with braking by way of the new Wingman ACB. The technology delivers warnings and proactive interventions to help drivers avoid collisions – along with data to help with fleet operations and driver training. 

Using a radar sensor mounted to the front of the vehicle – and building on Bendix ESP stability-control technology – the system helps the driver maintain a set following distance between his truck and the vehicle in front. With cruise control on and speed set, ACB will warn the driver and then get proactive if he  doesn’t respond – reducing throttle, engaging the engine retarder and, if necessary, automatically applying the foundation brakes to maintain the intended following distance. The system won’t do a full-bore panic stop because the technology isn’t yet able to detect a stationary object reliably, but that’s coming too.

When cruise control isn’t engaged, the driver still gets the benefit of following-distance alerts to let him know if he’s getting too close to the vehicle ahead.  This can be especially helpful during those conditions when cruise control should not be used, such as lousy weather and heavy traffic.   

Wingman ACB information, warnings, and system controls are incorporated into the truck’s dash in direct view of the driver. Drivers activate the system using the existing cruise control switches in the vehicle. Following distance can be customized by the fleet using Bendix ACom diagnostic software (version 6.3 or higher).

Bendix says full-stability technology is a critical foundation for all active safety technologies, and Wingman ACB is built on the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program. Because automatic brake application brings the potential for instability, ESP technology is a must with active braking capabilities. Automatic brake applications on wet, snowy, or ice-covered surfaces can result in slide-out or over-steer events that can lead to a jackknife or other loss of control, but ESP full stability can read driver steering intent and vehicle direction, and thus reduce the risk
Wingman ACB can help improve driver performance by targeting specific driver needs for training, Bendix suggests. Event details such as following distance, use of cruise control and even stability ‘moments’ are available for download from the system using the ACom diagnostic software (version 6.3 or later). 

It’s available for order today, with vehicle delivery starting in early July, 2009.

Both Mack and Volvo introduced their own versions of Wingman ACB at Mid-America.

Mack calls it simply Adaptive Cruise Control and incorporates it into its Road Stability Advantage system. The impact alert informs the driver when the automatic brake application isn’t enough to avoid a collision. A Vorad side detection system is optional to alert drivers to vehicles in the right side blind spot when changing lanes.

At Volvo the new Bendix option is called Volvo Enhanced Cruise (VEC), and it’s said to be able to detect up to 32 objects within about 500 ft in front of the truck. As with the others, the Volvo system applies about one-third of the foundation brakes’ capacity at most, meaning the driver always has full braking capability if needed.

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