Taking a cue from many of the virtual events since the onset of COVID-19, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems brought attendees a live demo that could be experienced from their home offices.
The event highlighted new features of the Wingman Fusion system, as well as a live demonstration of air disc brakes vs. drum brakes and a spotlight on what the company calls Foundations for Future Autonomy.
“Fleets have reported a 70% reduction in rear-end collisions and a 70% reduction in severity in the remaining accidents” using the Wingman Fusion system, said T.J. Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions at Bendix.
Demoing the System
The first demo, which showed how the system’s stationary vehicle braking technology helps drivers avoid colliding with stopped vehicles in traffic, preceded a look at a new feature — highway departure braking.
“It’s an extension of the lane departure warning,” said Thomas.
When a fatigued or distracted driver begins to veer off the highway and onto the shoulder, the system reads the lines on the road and first alerts the driver with a loud warning sound and then begins to reduce torque and apply the brake.
“It’s driver assistance, not driver replacement,” reminded Fred Andersky, marketing controls director, customer solutions at Bendix, who also performed as the driver during the demos.
Multi-lane autonomous emergency braking, another new feature highlighted during the event, assists drivers in situations where there is a car in the lane after the truck swerves to miss a vehicle in its lane.
“It would be very easy for the driver to miss the second vehicle,” said Thomas, since the focus is on the first vehicle he or she is maneuvering to avoid. “The system gives the driver more time to get back in the game.”
Andersky was soon back in the truck to give attendees a look at another feature, rapid-approach braking. Driving a Navistar LT with a loaded trailer adding up to about 65,000 pounds at about 45 mph, he approached a pickup truck that slowed down to about 5 mph. The system alerted Andersky and engaged the braking system, giving him time to avoid colliding with the pickup.
“The system gives you an alert and an intervention, and it is designed to mitigate and minimize rear-end collisions,” said Andersky.
Disc Brakes vs. Drum Brakes
The next demonstration showed the difference between stopping distances for air disc brakes and drum brakes. After performing an initial test with two trucks with cold brakes, a time-lapse film was shown to give attendees a look at how the brakes performed when hot, culminating in a 20th attempt that resulted in a 188-foot stopping distance for the disc brakes and 301 feet for the drum brakes.
The company also showed off one of its newer brake products, the AD-HF air dryer, which was released last October.
“This was designed with a clean sheet of paper,” said Rich Nagel, director of marketing and customer solutions. “It weighs about 8 pounds less than the previous model and has improved corrosion protection, which is important to fleets and allows for remanufacturing.”
Advanced Steering and Parking Assistance
Benefitting from Bendix’s parent company Knorr-Bremse’s acquisition of commercial vehicle steering supplier R.H. Sheppard Co., the Bendix team demonstrated both its lane keep assistance and active return steer assist features.
“Using the Fusion camera, the system takes the lane line information and uses the actuator to bring the truck back into the lane,” said Dustin Carpenter, product group director at Bendix, adding that the system mimics a driver’s action and force so that it does not overturn or maneuver too quickly.
The active return feature was demonstrated by having the driver make 90-degree left and right turns and allowing the system to return the steering wheel to center. This alleviates the stress and strain on drivers and gives them the ability to better focus on their surroundings, according to Andersky.
Another feature showcased, Intellipark, automatically sets the parking brake if the driver forgets. If the system detects an open door or the removal of the driver’s seat belt, it automatically engages the parking break.
During a break from the live demonstration, Thomas and Michelle Huhn, manager of the Safety Direct technical sales and implementation team, previewed four new features of the system. SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS is a web portal that provides fleet operators with comprehensive feedback on their fleet and drivers, along with videos of severe events. New features include:
- The ability to access saved videos with the mobile app and send them to the back office for further review.
- A driver-facing camera
- Cellular data transfer ability, to transmit data off vehicle without the use of the telematics system
- Forward-facing high-definition color camera
Aside from demonstrating new and existing technologies, Bendix was able to raise $10,000 for the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, a charity that helps over-the-road/regional semi-truck drivers and their families when an illness or injury causes them to be out of work.