The Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability system, which helps mitigate or possibly prevent loss-of-control and rollover conditions, is now available as a factory-installed option on conventional Blue Bird Corporation school buses.
Bendix said Blue Bird is the first North American school bus manufacturer to offer stability technology. More than 300,000 commercial vehicles in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are currently equipped with Bendix ESP.
"We've been testing tractor-trailer, truck, and motorcoach full-stability systems for more than 14 years, and since launching Bendix ESP in early 2005, we've seen the commercial vehicle industry embrace the technology in ever-growing numbers," said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, Controls group. "We are proud to partner with Blue Bird in making this system available to those fleets and drivers responsible for transporting America's most valuable cargo of all: the students who depend upon a school bus ride every day."
Fort Valley, Georgia-based Blue Bird has produced more than 550,000 buses since its formation in 1927, with more than 200,000 buses in operation today. The company employs more than 1,600 people in its Georgia manufacturing facilities and an extensive network of dealers and service facilities throughout North America.
"Blue Bird is pleased to partner with a commercial vehicle technology leader, Bendix, to introduce the industry's first electronic stability control system," said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. "Electronic stability control is established and proven in the commercial vehicle industry, assisting even the most cautious drivers during rain, snow, or clear conditions. We are passionate about offering class-leading features and solutions that delight our customers, and this product is another example of our commitment."
Bendix ESP is an antilock braking system (ABS)-based stability technology that recognizes and assists with both rollover and vehicle under- and over-steer driving situations. It uses a series of sensors to continuously monitor vehicle parameters including wheel speed, lateral acceleration, steering angle, brake pressure, and yaw rate. These sensors combine to measure driver intent and vehicle direction, helping to mitigate skids, slides, and loss of control – including rollovers – through interventions such as de-throttling the engine and selectively applying the brakes, typically reacting faster than a human can.
"Often, drivers may not know a vehicle is unstable, because they can't feel what's happening until it's too late to correct," Thomas said. "By slowing the vehicle when it nears a critical stability threshold, Bendix ESP helps keep the driver in control and more closely aligned with the intended path."
The combination of its extensive sensor array and both all-axle and individual braking capabilities enables Bendix ESP to deliver stability performance on dry and wet surfaces. Additionally, full-stability technology functions in a wide range of driving and road conditions, including snow, ice-covered, and slippery surfaces.