ECE mandates ESC for all vehicles

  • 13-Oct-2008 10:25 EDT
ESC pic 2.JPG

A multiyear phase-in period for mandatory fitment of electronic stability control systems to all types of vehicles in Europe begins in July.

The number of vehicles available with electronic stability control (ESC) systems has increased significantly over the past 10 years, but their fitment will become even more widespread following the recent issue of two United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) regulations mandating that virtually all types of motor vehicles and some types of trailers be equipped with them.

According to InterRegs, the UN ECE issued a new Global Technical Regulation on ESC systems for light vehicles (GTR No. 8) and an amendment to ECE Regulation No. 13 mandating the fitment of ESC systems to heavy vehicles and heavy trailers.

ESC systems are electronic and usually are integrated with the vehicle’s antilock braking system to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle during extreme cornering maneuvers, such as those initiated to avoid a potential crash. The ESC system uses sensors to monitor the driver’s intended heading (i.e., steering input) and compare it with the vehicle’s actual response. If the vehicle’s response does not match the driver’s intention, the ESC will apply uneven braking at individual wheels on the vehicle to help it keep on the intended course.

Numerous studies of real-world accident statistics for vehicles fitted with ESC have shown that the technology has significantly lowered accidents compared to equivalent non-ESC-equipped vehicles, which has led legislators around the world to consider implementing requirements for the mandatory fitment. The first legislative authority to mandate the fitment of ESC systems was the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which will mandate the fitment of ESC systems to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, light trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle weight up to 10,000 lb via Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 126, the phase-in requirements for which began on Sept. 1.

Based on FMVSS 126, newly published Global Technical Regulation No. 8 also covers ESC systems for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, light trucks, and buses with a GVW up to 10,000 kg. It includes both functional and performance requirements.

It is expected that the NHTSA will propose amendments to FMVSS 126 to align its requirements with those of GTR No. 8 in the near future, and a proposal to introduce identical requirements to those of GTR No. 8 into ECE 13H already has been proposed.

The 11th series of amendments to ECE Regulation No. 13 (ECE 13.11) introduces requirements for ESC systems, referred to as a “vehicle stability function” in the regulation, for buses and coaches with more than nine seats, trucks with a GVW greater than 3500 kg, and trailers with a GVW greater than 3500 kg. The regulation contains requirements for both “directional control” and “rollover control” functions and includes a phased introduction for the mandatory fitment of ESC systems by vehicle type. Introduction dates range from July 11, 2009 to July 11, 2016.

InterRegs wrote this article for Automotive Engineering.

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