Meritor WABCO demonstrates latest updates in safety, efficiency technology
Sep 1, 2012 12:00 PM
ONE couldn't have asked for better days than August 15 and 16 to visit the Ford test track in southeastern Michigan. Those were the days and place chosen by Meritor WABCO to show off the latest developments in integrated safety and efficiency technology.
Weather, temperature, and track conditions gave the perfect opportunity for hand-on demonstrations of the technology. Systems demonstrated by Meritor WABCO during the two-day event included the next-generation OnGuard collision safety system that will be available after October; ESCsmart technology that will advance the performance and functionality of electronic stability control (ESC); Meritor WABCO's vision-based lane departure warning system; and the Electronic Control of Air Suspension (ECAS) technology designed to improve 6x2 traction.
“This event gave us the opportunity to show how these systems are evolving,” said Alan Korn, Meritor WABCO director of vehicle dynamics and control. “We're very committed to active safety systems technology and advanced safety systems integration. Our customers also see the importance of these systems. Half of the Class 8 tractors purchased today are specified with stability control, and we are seeing an almost 100% reorder rate even without a federal mandate.”
The improved OnGuard system integrates collision warning, adaptive cruise with active braking, and collision mitigation. Specific improvements include better tracking performance and immediately available stationary object warning capability.
“Our next generation of OnGuard is a step change in the functionality of collision safety systems and we believe it represents a significant technological leap forward in reducing crashes involving commercial vehicles,” said Jon Morrison, Meritor WABCO president and general manager. “With more than 3 billion miles logged on more than 25,000 OnGuard units in the market, our depth of experience in this technology takes us to the next level to further reduce the risk of rear-end crashes on our roads and highways.”
Major improvements include:
- Advanced radar resolution and robust tracking designed to minimize false warnings from very small, inanimate objects.
- Evasive maneuver check, giving the system visibility into adjacent lanes. If the system recognizes the potential for a rear-end collision and detects an object in an adjacent lane, it is designed to detect that the vehicle cannot perform an evasive maneuver and apply the brakes sooner.
- Auto alignment, which makes the radar more resistant to misalignment to ensure robust operation.
- Improved driver display with a larger, higher-resolution screen shaped for easier orientation on the vehicle dashboard.
- When faced with a serious accident threat, the system is designed to brake the vehicle more aggressively than the current system's limit of one-third to one-half of a full brake application with the improved object detection.
ESCsmart, to be included in Meritor WABCO's next generation ESC when it is released in 2014, builds upon the current “self-learning” capability whereby the system is designed to automatically adapt to changes in vehicle characteristics and wear without the need to reprogram a separate Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
“We continually look at ways to improve base technology so that we can offer the industry more value. ESCsmart is a significant step in the evolution of electronic stability control,” Morrison said. “The technology advancements with self-learning will not only help save manufacturers time and cost in the validation and application process, but fleets can reduce down time due to the need for reprogramming the ECU every time they have a truck and/or trailer configuration change.”
ESCsmart provides higher value to the electronic stability control system with more features and benefits than systems currently available in the market. ESCsmart's continuous learning functionality consistently monitors vehicle characteristics and makes adjustments to the performance of the ESC. This allows for:
- Significant reduction of the validation process for manufacturers. The system is designed to be programmed on the line and immediately be driven away, thereby eliminating the need for a calibrating driving procedure.
- More flexible adaptation to multiple vehicle types, including vehicles with more than three axles, vehicles with steerable axle lifts and straight trucks that tow trailers.
- Elimination of a fixed driving calibration procedure each time an ECU is replaced in the field.
- Constant tuning of the system as parts wear and vehicle characteristics change over time. ESCsmart is designed to automatically adapt to the changes in the steering ratio to maintain integrity of the ESC system.
Meritor WABCO's next generation Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system, powered by Takata's SafeTraK technology, will be available for fleet installation starting in October. It is a forward-looking, vision-based system designed to monitor the road and the vehicle's position in the lane, audibly warning the driver if the vehicle unintentionally leaves its lane.
Drivers are alerted if the system detects lane drifts, weaving or lane changes without a turn-signal application. Advanced image analysis algorithms enable the Meritor WABCO LDW to detect a wide variety of lane markings, such as dividing lines on the highway, even in unfavorable lighting or weather conditions where there are limited visible solid, dashed or reflective lane markings. The Meritor WABCO LDW is a fully integrated compact unit with automatic calibration and integrated diagnostics that simplify setup and operation.
A valuable feature unique only to the Meritor WABCO LDW is a Driver Alertness Warning (DAW) function that provides a warning when the system determines that the driver is drowsy. This differentiated and powerful tool helps drivers stay aware of dangerous driving situations caused by fatigue.
Meritor WABCO is now offering its ECAS system in the North American market for truck fleets that see 6x2 tractor configurations as a way to reduce tare weight but are concerned about losing traction.
“This is a highly differentiated approach to 6x2 applications, which provides several cost benefits to the fleet owner at the point of purchase and over the life of the vehicle,” Morrison said. “The ECAS system will not only improve 6x2 traction and reduce fuel consumption, but will also decrease axle wear and tear requiring less maintenance in addition to several safety benefits.”
ECAS is designed to improve a vehicle's air suspension control system by electronically maintaining a set ride height between the axle and chassis as road and vehicle characteristics change. The pressure control of the air springs is only adjusted when there is a change in the load, so normal axle vibration during driving does not cause height adjustment or consume air. Reduced air consumption decreases the compressor duty cycle, resulting in improved fuel economy.
ECAS offers automatic load transfer, significantly reducing drive axle wheel spin and traction control events during periods of aggressive acceleration. This feature addresses lower tractive effort of 6x2 vehicles versus 6x4, providing considerable improvement in traction on low friction surfaces to improve performance.
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