Next-gen active safety systems from Meritor WABCO

Image: OnGuard.jpg

Meritor WABCO's OnGuard system detects the possibility of a rear-end collision and alerts the driver with audible and visual cues. A next-generation version of the system is available for fleet orders in the fall of 2012.


For the five years that Meritor WABCO’s OnGuard Collision Mitigation System (CMS) has been available to commercial vehicles, the software-processing system has used three-beam, forward-sensing radar technology with a 150-m (492-ft) range.

“What we can’t do with the current system is quantify the size of the object that’s been detected, so it could be a Coke can or it could be a commercial vehicle truck. We can’t differentiate,” Alan Korn, Director of Vehicle Control Systems for Meritor WABCO, said during an interview with SAE Magazines.

With the next-generation version of OnGuard CMS, 34 individual beams process data based on 18° of forward radar scanning in the far range—up to 200 m (656 ft)—and 56° in the near range—up to 60 m (197 ft).

“But with the next-generation product, because of improvements in the radar sensing, the system can quantify to a much better degree the size of the object. So the system can make intelligent decisions in terms of when to warn and when to brake automatically,” Korn explained.

When the system detects the possibility of a rear-end collision, an audible and a color change (from green to yellow to red) in the dashboard’s high-resolution LCD screen alerts the driver. The upgraded system also does continuous horizontal and vertical alignments of the radar to ±3° automatically vs. the manual adjustments needed for the prior-generation system.

“With the current CMS, the braking begins when the system calculates that there is no way for the commercial vehicle to handle an evasive maneuver because it’s just too close to the lead vehicle to clear it,” Korn said.

Because the next-generation system has a wider radar sweep, the system also can sense when a vehicle is in the adjacent lane.

“The system essentially will not wait to see if the driver will do the evasive maneuver because the system knows that the driver can’t do a safe evasive maneuver because there is a threatening object in the parallel lane,” Korn said. That translates to automatic braking occurring sooner than if an object hadn’t been detected in the adjacent lane.

Jon Morrison, President and General Manager of Meritor WABCO, said development of the collision system that de-throttles the engine and applies the engine and foundation brakes to elicit up to 0.35 Gs of braking power was a meticulous process.

“With OnGuard, the development work started in 2004. We were part of the field operational test with Walmart that accumulated millions of miles of experience with the technology before we even introduced the product to the market,” Morrison told SAE. Since then, more than 3 billion mi (4.8 billion km) have been logged on the 25,000-plus commercial vehicles equipped with OnGuard units.

Next-generation CMS will be available for commercial vehicles ordered with OnGuard after Oct. 1, 2012. Company officials expect that in the 2014 time frame, CMS will add integrated stationary object braking to complement the next generation’s stationary object warning capability.

Another safety product available for fleet installation beginning in October 2012 is Meritor WABCO’s next-generation lane departure warning (LDW) system using SafeTraK technology by Takata Corp.

The forward-looking, vision-based system monitors the vehicle’s position within a highway lane. When lane departures occur without the driver using a turn signal, the activated system provides an audio alert.

Another LDW system feature is drowsy driver detection.

“A software algorithm calculates whether the vehicle is weaving within the lane. If this persists and even if the vehicle doesn’t cross the lane marker, the system can attribute the weaving to drowsy driving and provide an audible alert. In the future, an alert also could be sent to the carrier, and the carrier could contact the driver and find out if the driver needs to take a break from driving,” said Korn.

The next generation of Meritor WABCO’s electronic stability control (ESC) technology will feature notable upgrades when it is market-released in 2014.

ESCsmart’s current self-learning capabilities unfold on a continual basis. But the next-generation system further enhances the self learning.

According to Korn, “ESCsmart enables the system to learn a dynamic characteristic quickly, and then as the vehicle ages it modifies that response. Because the next-generation system is constantly learning what is the typical response, it can predict more accurately when there is a particular loss of control and stability and then react to that.”

More than 150,000 stability control systems from Meritor WABCO have been provided to fleet customers in North America for line-haul truck, fire truck, and motor coach vehicles.

Said Morrison, “Meritor WABCO takes on the challenge of providing full testing and evaluation of tasks prior to working with the OEMs to finish the product release process.”

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