STABLE: A test truck demonstrates Freightliner's new ESC system which helps prevent rollovers.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Freightliner says the industry has embraced its Roll Advisor and Control system for heavy-duty trucks, with more than 11,000 units now in place.
The technology alerts drivers to a potential rollover scenario and can automatically intervene to take corrective actions.
The system is integrated with the truck’s ABS system and can apply engine and services brakes if a rollover is imminent. It’s designed to educate drivers to recognize risky vehicle manoeuvres and so far it appears to be working.
Freightliner customer, Praxair, found that its drivers drove more conservatively following a warning.
“This is definitely an educational tool for us all,” said Mark Tietje, director of safety for North America Industrial Gases with Praxair. “It has proven to create a heightened sense of awareness.”
The Roll Advisor and Control system uses sensors to track lateral acceleration and wheel speed to detect the potential for rollover. It warns drivers when they are at risk of a rollover, and only takes preventive measures if a rollover is imminent.
“In keeping with DaimlerChrysler’s vision of accident-free driving, Roll Advisor and control is an active safety technology designed to prevent accidents from happening in the first place,” said Michael von Mayenburg, Freightliner senior vice-president of engineering and technology.
Praxair is so impressed with the technology the company has equipped 90 per cent of its Freightliner fleet with Roll Advisor and Control (about 250 units). Praxair was active in testing the technology and it now uses it to help train drivers.
“As a coaching tool it’s there for us and our drivers as well,” Tietje said, adding the system also tracks hard braking incidents.
Tietje said drivers accepted the technology, even though the benefits of it weren’t immediately apparent.
“They recognize it as an improvement for their professional performance as a driver that gives them continuous learning,” Tietje said. While the system retails at about US$800, Tietje said Praxair considers the investment well worthwhile. No units equipped with the system have been involved in a rollover, but Tietje admitted it’s hard to calculate a firm return on investment or payback time. Tietje pointed out the minimum cost of a truck rollover is $150,000 and “We consider each rollover a fatality-potential event.”
Praxair’s goal is to entirely eliminate accidents within its fleet. It’s a lofty goal, but the company is confident Freightliner’s Roll Advisor and Control system can help.
“From our rationale, we can’t do without this technology,” Tietje said.
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