As truck fleets have installed Bendix safety products on their vehicles over the past few years, few had any realization that those products, such as air disc brakes, Wingman Fusion, BlindSpotter, and stability control systems such as ESP and TAB-6 for trailers, would form the basis of autonomous technologies.
While the technology is not quite there yet, it is these types of advanced safety technologies that will be grouped together to ensure autonomous vehicles – just like their precursors on the roads today – will operate in the safest manner possible.
“Together, these technologies provide the cornerstone and stepping stones for future autonomous vehicles,” said Berend Bracht, president & CEO of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems during a press briefing at the North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Bracht noted that autonomous vehicles are coming, it’s just a matter of when.
But before the industry gets to autonomous vehicles, it needs to continue progressing down the safety road it has been on. Fred Andersky, director of customer solutions-Controls, highlighted expected updates to several of the firm’s top safety tech.
Andersky said the company will provide the next-generation of its Wingman Fusion product, an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that combines cameras and radar into a proactive system. The new capabilities will include highway departure braking for when a vehicle leaves the roadway and multi-lane braking that keeps the system engaged even after a driver makes an evasive maneuver to avoid a crash following system activation. There will also be an adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology for operation in congested traffic conditions. The existing collision mitigation technology in the system will also receive an update that will mean up to 50% more speed reduction in the vehicle through deployment of the vehicle’s full braking power instead of current two-thirds power.
The new features will come through software advancements meaning current Fusion customers will be able to upgrade to the new capabilities with no need to purchase new hardware components.
The next-generation of Fusion will be linked with a new pigtail connection that will arrive with Bendix’s BlindSpotter 2.0 side object detection system.
The updated BlindSpotter will feature wider coverage of blind spots and will eventually be connected with Fusion and, down the road, an active steering solution for lane keeping assist, Andersky said.
Updates to both systems will take place next year, with BlindSpotter 2.0 expected in the first quarter.
Also coming next year, although only in fleet trials, is Intellipark. Intellipark is an electronic parking brake designed to prevent rollaway situations when a driver exits a vehicle without engaging the parking brakes.
According to Andersky, the system uses sensors to detect when the driver gets out of the driver’s seat or opens the driver door without turning on the parking brakes. When that happens, the system will automatically engage the brakes.
Hoping to build on the big data trend, Bendix is also updating its Safety Direct system. Safety Direct integrates with driver assist systems and provides that data and video to fleets for analysis and action. The updated system coming next year will add DVR information and an active driver camera with facial recognition for drowsy driving and other driver-safety issues. It will be backward compatible to current systems.
On the wheel-end side of the business, Bendix has also been busy, introducing a new line of spring brakes – the EnduraSure and EnduraSure Pro.
EnduraSure replaces the EverSure spring brake in Brendix’s portfolio and is produced by BSFB, a joint venture of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products.
The base model is the EnduraSure, which is more durable and robust than the previous model, Keith McComsey, director of customer solutions-Wheel End, said. It offers up to three times the power spring life over previous Bendix spring brakes and some competitive models.
It weights up to 8 pounds less than previous designs per tandem axle and features a design that keeps the inner coils from making contact, protecting against corrosion and ensuring the protective coating lasts longer for longer spring life.
The Pro model is sealed to prevent moister and contaminants from entering the chamber. To achieve this, Bendix eliminated park-side drain holes and integrated a one-way check valve into the screw-in dust plug, McComsey explained. This dust plug opens momentarily when the park brakes are released to allow air to escape, while keeping moisture and contaminants out.
Bendix is also expecting to release a new air disc brake pad sensor that monitors the pads for friction, eliminating the need for maintenance to spend time checking the friction level and also allowing fleets to proactively replace worn pads before they cause other damage in the wheel end.
The company has also launched an air disc brake valuation calculator. Available at www.valuebybendix.com, the site allows users to input their own fleet data, including labor costs associated to drum brakes, wear rates, even CSA-related violations, and it will provide an overall cost footprint of what drum brakes are costing the fleet. It then provides the same cost footprint for air disc brakes.