Electronic stability control (ESC) is a computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle's stability. It can help to keep the driver from losing control of the car while driving on slippery roads. It uses the speed sensors on each wheel and the ability to brake individual wheels that are the basis of antilock brakes.
ESC IS THE NEUTRAL NAME OF THE Electronic Stability Program (ESP) trademarked by Bosch, who invented and manufactures it since 1995. It is an active safety system improving the vehicle stability in all driving situations. Especially on slippery roads and when entering a bend too quickly, the electronic stability program keeps vehicles safely on track. It operates by actuating the brakes individually on one or more wheels on the front or rear axle. The system stabilizes the vehicle when cornering, braking, or during non-driven coasting to keep it on the road and in the desired lane. ESC complements the familiar functions of the anti-lock brake system (ABS), acceleration slip regulation (ASR) and engine braking regulation (EBR).
All ESC systems need CAN communication, because there are different ECUs involved. Summarizing the findings of many studies of its effectiveness, Gerhard Steiger, the president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division, says: “After the seat belt, ESP is the most important safety system in cars, and has saved many lives over the past years.” Since 2010 Bosch has been producing even more ESP than ABS units.
ESP becoming standard equipment
The United Nations considers ESP an effective way of countering the expected increase in the number of road deaths in the years ahead. According to studies, this active safety system can prevent up to 80 % of all skidding accidents. This is why more and more countries are requiring new vehicles to be fitted with it as standard equipment. In Europe this is already the case for all vehicles whose type approval was granted after October 2011. In November 2014 it will no longer be necessary to look for ESP in a vehicle's list of optional features, since from then it will be fitted as standard equipment in all new vehicles throughout the EU. Even today, 72 % of all newly registered cars and light commercial vehicles in Europe are equipped with ESP. Worldwide, 48 % of all new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are now fitted with ESP.
Assistance systems are based on ESP
New assistance systems will make driving even safer and more comfortable. For instance, Bosch is developing functions that automatically maintain a safe distance to the car in front, that guide the vehicle into the tightest of parking spaces, and that warn the driver promptly in critical situations. Many of these functions have one thing in common: they operate the brakes independently of the driver. It is ESP that carries out this braking. This means vehicles that are already fitted with the system can more easily be equipped with additional safety and comfort functions.
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