In 2008, Volvo Trucks was the first manufacturer in the world to present a further-enhanced Electronic Stability Program (ESP) system that stabilises both rigid trucks and trailers. Now a new version is being launched which can also handle 6×2 and 4×2 rigid trucks with one or more trailers. Volvo’s new ESP system can handle everything from tractors to multi-trailer rigs. One major benefit of the new version is that it covers the majority of dangerous-goods vehicles, such as fuel tankers.
Single-vehicle accidents in which the truck rolls over or drives off the road account for half of all truck accidents involving fatalities or severe injuries.
“Reducing the risk of roll-over accidents and jack-knife situations is one of the most important measures for cutting the number of truck accidents,” says Carl-Johan Almqvist, Volvo’s new traffic and product safety director. “We are happy that we can now offer the system on our FE, FM and FH models so that more customers have the opportunity to exploit the system’s advantages.”
Serious accidents of this type also bring about major economic consequences in the form of damage to trucks, trailers and cargo.
“Adopting ESP is an excellent investment for the haulage firm. Simulations of collision scenarios and physical tests with and without ESP show that the system improves all roll-over and skid scenarios studied,” says Martin Palming, ESP project manager.
The ESP system is controlled by a computer that receives information from a variety of sources, including the ABS brakes’ wheel sensors, the steering system and a gyroscope. Using this information the onboard computer can instantaneously determine if the truck is about to roll over or skid and responds. ESP responds with lightning speed by individually braking one or more wheels on the truck and trailer or, if necessary, the system can also lower engine revs.
In a skid situation, the main response is individual wheel braking, with the system braking the wheel or wheels that offer the best potential for bringing the vehicle safely back on course.
In a skid situation on a slippery road surface or in scenarios with a high risk of the vehicle rolling over, ESP reacts by lowering engine revs to reduce vehicle speed and braking individual wheels to stabilise the entire rig.