As the braking system evolved (and continues to evolve), ABS brakes have been integrated with several other sensors to develop the highly efficient electronic stability control system that we use today.
If you’re just joining in today, start with part one of Electronic Stability Control to get the full flow of the article!)
Previous models of the ABS brakes were mainly used on cars but the new and more sophisticated ESC systems are commonly used on cars, light trucks and SUVs. Taller vehicles like SUV’s are known to have benefited from the technology mostly due to their high center of gravity. Higher centers of gravity increases the chances of losing control or spinning-out while under stress. In 2010 85% of all new SUVs were installed with electronic stability control systems and today every SUV rolling out of the assembly line has to have the ESC as standard (in most countries).
They argued that putting a computers’ judgment before the driver was unacceptable.
This has become a legal safety requirement by vehicle manufacturers since both the ABS brakes and the electronic stability control system are responsible for saving thousands of people’s lives. Since the ESC is automatically controlled by the sensors and an on-board computer, most automobile companies have acknowledged the safety benefits. A study conducted in 2004 revealed the ESC had helped to save an astonishing 7000 lives that year, thus making it a major safety requirement on each vehicle. By 2006 the number of lives saved by the ESC was estimated at 10,000.
Although the ESC system was being praised for saving lives there was also an opposing group that claimed the stability control system was causing unnecessary damage to the vehicle. They argued that putting a computers’ judgment before the driver was unacceptable. Vigorous tests after the opposition proved that the computer helped stabilise the vehicle and prevent accidents or roll outs therefore putting an end to their protests.
Today, many vehicles sport a number of brightly coloured indicators on the dashboard that help warn the driver if there’s too much stress or imminent danger present before the ESC kicks in. This was designed due to many complains from drivers who are not comfortable with the ESC suddenly kicking in without warning. Inclusion of warning lights has helped alert drivers in advance to slow down and ultimately reducing the chances of the computer signalling the Electronic stability control to take control of the situation.
So there’s the 4th and final instalment of Electronic Stability Control; it’s history, applications and practicalities. Stay with us for our next articles that dive into braking technology and advanced automotive future products!
Oh, remember this ESC ad?