Advanced electronics may soon be taking the place of seat-of-the-pants driver reactions if the latest development from Robert Bosch Corporation reaches production. Bosch presented Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), that uses the latest antilock braking and traction control technology but takes both systems into uncharted territory in commercial vehicle safety. Enhancing the evolution of VDC is the Electronic Braking System (EBS).
The idea behind VDC is simple; prevent accidents by initiating the antilock braking and traction control systems at decisive instants to prevent loss of control of the vehicle. Mercedes-Benz has been using a similar system on some of its passenger cars since 1995.
Using sensors measuring brake pressure, lateral acceleration, steering angle, yaw rate, and wheel speed, a Vehicle Dynamics Control system will respond to dangerous situations that could cause even the best drivers to lose control of a vehicle. VDC is transparent to drivers in all but the worst circumstances and then intervenes only enough to remedy a potentially deadly situation.
VDC acts independently of driver input and can manage a vehicle in ways not possible for drivers. VDC can, according to its pre-programmed instructions, actuate a vehicle's brakes individually. VDC can also limit braking when it senses certain conditions, allowing it only when it will not cause a loss of control. The system will limit braking when it senses excessive lateral force. VDC attempts to eliminate the possibility of a driver overbraking and initiating a sideways skid.
Bosch is testing its VDC system in both hot and cold climates to ensure the system's performance in all conditions. The company is testing the system using tractor-trailer combinations as well as solo tractors. VDC has proven effective in several direct comparisons using the same vehicle with without the VDC system. In testing, drivers deliberately attempt to lose control of rigs through double lane changes on ice pack. Results show that VDC considerably improves control regardless of conditions.
According to Bosch, VDC reduces the likelihood of jackknifing and rollovers. Bosch claims the system will improve vehicle behavior in all critical driving situations.