LOUISVILLE. Bendix Commercial Vehicles LLC unveiled its Wingman ACB (Active Cruise with Braking) safety system the company said delivers warnings and proactive interventions to help drivers avoid collisions as well as data to help with fleet operations and driver training here today at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Bendix said the new system builds on its ESP full-stability technology by adding a radar sensor mounted to the front of the vehicle that assists drivers in keeping a set following distance between their truck and the vehicle in front of them.

With cruise control on and speed set, Wingman ACB will warn and provide active interventions – reducing throttle, engaging the engine retarder and, if necessary automatically applying the foundation brakes to help the driver maintain the intended following distance, said Bendix.

When cruise control is not engaged, the driver still gets the benefit of following distance alerts to let him know if he’s getting too close to the forward vehicle, which “can be especially helpful during those conditions when cruise control should not be used, such as inclement weather and heavy traffic.” Bendix also pointed out the inclusion of its ESP full-stability technology helps drivers mitigate rollover and loss-of-control situations on dry, wet, snow and ice-covered roadways.

“It’s all about helping fleets avoid crashes,” said Joe McAleese, Bendix president & CEO. “Bendix is building on its commitment to delivering strong, cost effective, active safety solutions that have a real impact for fleets – from the cost, revenue, profit and safety performance perspectives.”

According to Bendix, Wingman ACB was designed to deliver driver-friendly adaptive cruise control technology with full vehicle and braking system integration. Information, warnings, and operation of the Wingman system is incorporated into the vehicle dash in direct view of the driver. Drivers activate the system using the existing cruise control switches in the vehicle, and receive information and warnings through the vehicle dash, so there are “no extra distracting displays to look for when a warning sounds.”

Following distance can be customized by the fleet using Bendix ACom diagnostic software (version 6.3 or higher). Based on those fleet-specific settings, the system’s audio and visual warnings alert drivers as the truck closes in on the forward vehicle. Because the system’s alerts can be so valuable to driver behavior and decision making, Bendix noted, they’re delivered even when the vehicle is not in cruise control, which is often the case for city driving and during inclement weather.

Bendix pointed out that automatic brake applications on wet, snowy, or ice-covered surfaces can result in directional instability – slide-out or over-steer events that can lead to a jackknife or loss-of-control situation. But by including full-stability, with its capabilities for reading driver steering intent and vehicle direction, the potential instability instigated by the automatic application of the brakes can be mitigated, the company said.

“As active safety systems that automatically apply brakes increase, they will be built on a foundation of full stability,” said Fred Andersky, marketing director for the Bendix controls product business team. “Why? Because roll-only systems don’t possess all the sensors and braking capability needed to interpret conditions and respond appropriately – and may increase instability of the vehicle during automatic braking events on slick surfaces. Therefore, full-stability is a critical part of systems that include an active braking component.”

According to Andersky, the combination of active cruise with braking and full stability positions the Bendix approach as “the one that will do more to help fleets avoid more types of accidents – collisions, rollovers, and loss-of-control – than any other system marketed today”.

In addition, Bendix said the Wingman system provides data that fleets can use to help improve driver performance by targeting specific driver needs for training. Insights, such as following distance, use of cruise control and even stability events are available from the system through easy download using Bendix ACom software.

Bendix Wingman ACB is available for fleets to order today, with vehicle delivery in early July. For more information, go to www.bendix.com.