Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

 

ESC is the most significant advance in vehicle safety since the introduction of the seat belt and one of the most important crash avoidance systems currently available. This anti-skid technology has already helped prevent hundreds of thousands of loss of control crashes and saved tens of thousands of lives.

 

On dry, wet, or slippery roads if the vehicle starts to skid, ESC corrects the slide by reducing engine torque and braking individual wheels to bring the vehicle back on course. The system uses sensors to continuously monitor the stability of the vehicle. When an unstable state is detected, for instance as the result of a sudden direction change, ESC responds in milliseconds and stabilises the vehicle. If the system senses oversteer (i.e. that the rear of the car is starting to drift sideways out of the turn), ESC applies the brakes to the front wheel on the outside of the turn to create a counteracting torque about the vertical axis of the vehicle. This stabilises the vehicle and turns it back onto the path intended by the driver.

 

Seventeen case studies between 2001 and 2007 have shown ESC to be highly effective, avoiding single vehicle crashes by approximately 30%. In the European Union, where ESC became a mandatory requirement in all new cars from 1 November 2014 it is estimated that since 1995 at least 188,500 crashes involving injury have been avoided and more than 6,100 lives saved by ESC. In the United States, where ESC became mandatory from 2012 it is estimated that already more than 6,000 lives have been saved.

 

ESC is now mandatory in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, Turkey and the USA and will soon also be in Argentina. However, Global NCAP believes that the current ESC global fitment rate of just over 60% of new passenger cars and light duty vehicles is too low and wants this to be raised to 100% by 2020.

 

Global NCAP is recommending that all UN Member States, especially those that have significant automobile production, mandate ESC in all new models by 2018 and in all automobiles in production by the end of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety in 2020. The United Nations has adopted a global standard for ESC which makes it much easier now for governments worldwide to support mandatory application of the system.

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