In Europe, from 1 November, all new cars and light commercial vehicles must be equipped with the anti-skid system ESP (Electronic Stability Program). The corresponding EU regulation applies to all vehicles with type approvals issued after this date.
The system will subsequently become compulsory in all new EU vehicles from 31st October 2014.
According to the European Commission, the new safety policy could help prevent up to 4.000 deaths and 100.000 injuries a year on Europe’s roads, where less than half of the cars currently sold are fitted with the anti-skid ESP system.
“ESP can prevent up to 80 percent of all skidding accidents. It is the most important vehicle safety system after the seat belt”, says Dr. Werner Struth, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division.
The system is built on top of an anti-lock brake (ABS) system, and all ESC-equipped vehicles are fitted with traction control. It uses speed sensors on each wheel, a rotation sensor and steering angle sensor to check whether the car is travelling on its intended course.
If the vehicle moves in a different direction, ESP detects the critical situation and reacts immediately – independently of the driver. It uses the vehicle’s braking system to “steer” the vehicle back on track.
Electronic Stability Control goes by a number of names, depending on the auto manufacturer, such as ESC, ESP (Electronic Stability Program), StabiliTrak or AdvanceTrac, but they all mean one thing.