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MATS Report: Bendix moves forward with braking and stability advancements

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems continues research and development on the latest element of it...

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems continues research and development on the latest element of its active safety system strategy with an anticipated launch of early 2008.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) will enable brake intervention to help rapidly slow a vehicle and maintain following distance in addition to engine dethrottling and engine brake (retarder) applications.

The sensor controlling the ACC can track up to 32 objects within a 16-degree radius, explained Fred Andersky, marketing manager of the electronics group with Bendix; during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. on March 21.

Our approach to adaptive cruise control utilizes the braking system to provide more stopping power than competitive systems, and fleets can be comforted knowing that the braking system manufacturer is operating the brakes, said Kevin Romanchok, Bendix product line director, electronics. Additionally, our target is integration with the OE dash to provide a clean look and simple functionality that requires no special switches or externally mounted lights or buzzers.

The ACC will enable a vehicle to maintain a set following interval based on time between the truck and the lead vehicle. To help decelerate the vehicle and keep the intended following distance, the Bendix ACC system will use throttle reduction, engine retarder and brake application.

ACC can be utilized in the same situations as standard cruise control. Similar to standard cruise control, the driver should avoid using the system in stop-and-go traffic, in inclement weather or poor road conditions, and at speeds considered unsafe for traffic, weather, and road conditions.

Like all active safety technologies, ultimate responsibility for accident avoidance rests with the driver, noted Romanchok. These technologies will not make bad drivers good drivers, but will help good drivers avoid bad situations.

Fleet testing is currently underway of the Bendix adaptive cruise control, which builds on the companys original active safety system the Bendix ESP stability system.

The Bendix ESP stability aids a driver in maintaining control of the vehicle when forced to swerve to avoid a collision or due to weather conditions.

Bendix announced during MATS, the sales of the Bendix ESP system in 2006 grew 800% from the prior year. Additionally, Bendix expects to exceed 40,000 Bendix ESP-equipped vehicles on the road by the end of 2007.

More than 90% of highway tractor configurations from Mack, Volvo, Peterbilt, Kenworth and International are now available with the Bendix ESP system as optional or standard equipment, noted the manufacturer.

All five OEMs will have some availability of stability on their vocational offerings in 2007.

Our electronic stability program continues to grow both in volume and applications as fleets and OEM customers realize the additional value that full-stability systems provide, said Romanchok. The next step is to continue growing on highway tractors while adding emphasis to a greater number of vocational and bus applications.

Full-stability systems address both roll and directional stability situations, providing the maximum coverage on the broadest range of driving conditions, including dry pavement and slick, low-friction road surfaces. According to the March 2006 Report to Congress on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, an estimated 28.6% of commercial vehicle accidents are caused by a loss of control factor, which can include sliding or skidding on wet, snow or ice-covered surfaces; situations that roll-only stability systems are not equipped to address.

A rollover can result from situations that could have been mitigated earlier if the vehicle involved had an ESP type of stability system, commented Romanchok. A full-stability system, such as Bendix ESP, provides the maximum amount of stability coverage widely available in the market today, at a cost that is often less than many convenience options.

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