Robert Bosch LLC
2800 South 25th Avenue
Broadview, IL, 60155
Electronic Stability Control, The Most Effective Safety System Since The Safety Belt
Bosch is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the pioneering automotive antilock braking system (ABS), a landmark contribution to driving safety first introduced in 1978 and a major step forward for motorists and the automotive industry worldwide, and paved the way for electronic stability control systems.
Since Bosch introduced electronically controlled ABS to the automotive market, this groundbreaking technology has become the basis for all modern brake regulating systems. Today, nearly 75 percent of vehicles are fitted with ABS. Bosch systems such as the Electronic Stability Program (ESP)® and the Traction Control System (TCS) that are based on ABS are now successfully embraced by the world’s motorists.
“ABS utilizes sensors at each wheel tied to a central computer to prevent the wheels from locking when braking hard, allowing drivers to brake safely in emergency situations,” said Rob Backode, Group Product Manager for Bosch Braking Systems. “A car fitted with ABS brakes smoothly without locking the brakes and possibly skidding, allowing the driver to steer and keep the car under control even in sharp braking. The vehicle remains stable, and ABS really improves the way we drive.”
“ABS has been a truly revolutionary advance for motorists around the world. and Bosch is proud to have brought it to the automotive marketplace and to support it,” Backode said.
Electronic Stability Control Follows ABS
A little over ten years ago, Bosch expanded the wheel control pioneered with ABS and became the first supplier to launch volume production of the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®). What started out, as optional equipment for high-end passenger cars has nowadays become a standard active safety feature in an increasing number of new cars?
The system supports the driver in critical and often severe driving situations to keep the vehicle under control, and has been confirmed by several scientific studies indicating that electronic stability control programs reduce the number of accidents by up to 50 percent in cases where the driver loses control of his vehicle without other road users being involved.
Bosch has received prestigious awards from FIA (Federation International Automobile) and Prince Michael of Kent for “contributions to word-wide road safety.” Stability control systems are known in the USA as ESC (Electronic Stability Control). "Bosch has played a pivotal role in the development and promotion of the most effective car safety system since the invention of the safety belt," the FIA explained.
Dramatic Accident Reduction
The Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) comprises the functions of the antilock braking system (ABS) and the traction control system (TCS), but can do considerably more. It detects vehicle skidding movements, and actively counteracts them. ABS and TCS provide effective support in the case of speed alterations longitudinally to vehicle movement. ABS assists vehicle braking and TCS vehicle acceleration. The Electronic Stability Program additionally supports the driver in movements transverse to the direction of travel. On the basis of the steering angle, the system recognizes the desired direction of travel:
Speed sensors on each wheel measure wheel speed. At the same time, yaw sensors measure vehicle rotation around its vertical axis, as well as lateral acceleration. From this data, the control unit calculates the actual movement of the vehicle, comparing it 25 times per second with the desired direction.
If the values do not correspond, the system reacts in an instant, without any action on the part of the driver. It reduces engine power in order to restore vehicle stability. If that is not sufficient, then it additionally breaks individual wheels.
The resulting rotary movement of the vehicle counteracts the skidding movement – within the limits of the laws of physics, the car remains safely on the desired course.
A recent socio-economic study by the University of Cologne showed that 4,000 traffic deaths and 100,000 injuries could be prevented in Europe alone if electronic stability control were installed in all vehicles. In the U.S., the NHTSA estimates that 10,000 traffic deaths on American roads could be prevented with electronic stability control.
In 2006, 26 percent of all new vehicles produced worldwide were equipped with electronic stability control. In the first half of 2007, the share of all newly registered cars in Europe was 47 percent. In the U.S., legislation was passed in 2007 making electronic stability control mandatory standard equipment for all passenger cars from model year 2012. And the EU Commission has also announced its intention to mandate installation of the anti-skid system from 2011.
In the first half of 2007, 47 percent of all newly registered cars in Europe were equipped with ESC. International studies provide proof of the effectiveness of this safety system: 30 to 50 percent of all fatal single-vehicle accidents involving cars can be prevented by electronic stability control. For SUVs, the figure is even higher: 50 to 70 percent.
Contribution to World-Wide Road Safety
Bosch developed the active safety system and was the first company to put it on the market in 1995. International accident studies estimate that skidding causes at least 40 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. Around 80 percent of all skidding accidents could be prevented with electronic stability control.
The highly acclaimed FIA “World Prize for Road Safety, the Environment, and Mobility” recognizes “the great contribution the automotive supplier has made to worldwide road safety by developing and consistently marketing the ESP® safety system. FIA presented the trophy to Bosch at an annual FIA event in Monaco.
The FIA World Prize is presented every year to a person or an organization that has made an outstanding contribution in the areas of road safety, the environment, or mobility.
Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award
Almost simultaneously, Bosch received the prestigious British "Prince Michael Twentieth Anniversary International Road Safety Technology Award" for its pioneering ESP stability control system. The award cites Bosch’s ESP active safety system is "the most successful development in reducing road casualties since 1987.”
Prince Michael of Kent plays an active role in the area of international road safety. The award that bears his name has been presented every year for the past 20 years.