Freightliner demonstrates its Roll Advisor & Control system at safety initiative

Freightliner Corp. unveiled its latest safety product, the Roll Advisor & Control system, at the National Intelligent Vehicle Initiative meeting in Washington, D.C., earlier this summer. The system is designed to prevent tractor-trailer rollovers.

Roll Advisor & Control, developed by Freightliner and Meritor WABCO, warns a truck driver when a potential rollover situation is detected. In addition, it automatically deploys the engine brake in extreme situations to prevent a rollover.

Freightliner's executive director of technology planning, S. William Gouse, got behind the wheel of a Century Class S/T Class 8 Day Cab tractor to demonstrate the system on a makeshift test track at the Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center in Langley, Va.

With its onboard computer system programmed to believe the tractor was hooked up to a 35,000-lb. load, Gouse made a series of sharp, high-speed turns to demonstrate the product.

Sensors in the truck's antilock braking system track the vehicle's wheel speed and lateral acceleration. When the potential for a rollover is detected, a visual warning is sent to the driver via Freightliner's Driver Message Center, a display unit located on the dashboard directly in front of the driver.

The system provides three levels of visual warning alerts. The first level is a "risky maneuver detected" message. The second, which flashes a "rollover risk detected" message and recommends a slower speed, is displayed until the driver pushes a button to acknowledge the message. The third alert level flashes "high risk of rollover detected" and sounds a warning tone.

If the sensors detect an imminent rollover, the system's Roll Stability Control takes over. It automatically reduces engine power and applies the engine brake, overriding the driver's control of the vehicle. Once the vehicle becomes stable again, power is restored and the engine brake is turned off.

Freightliner is conducting extensive tests of its Roll Advisor & Control system with the help of Praxair, Danbury, Conn. The companies are gathering data about the system's capabilities that will be shared with DOT as part of its Intelligent Vehicle Initiative.

Roll Advisor & Control will be available in November of this year. Freightliner plans to make the system a standard feature on all Century Class S/T tractors.

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