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September 27, 2017 10:15 AM, EDT
Bendix Previews Next Generation of Wingman Fusion, Adds New Products
Bendix's Berend Bracht Bracht by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

ATLANTA — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems previewed the next generation of its collision-mitigation technology, discussed the industry’s pathway to automated driving and introduced several new products here at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

Bendix CEO Berend Bracht cited strong and sustained interest and adoption of the “building blocks” of automated driving, including collision mitigation, electronic stability control and air disc brakes on the tractor and trailer for maximum stopping power.

“Together, these technologies provide the cornerstone and the stepping stone for future automated systems,” said Bracht, who joined the company in 2015.

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Moving forward, the integration of steering control with the braking system will become increasingly important, he added. Knorr-Bremse Group, Bendix’s parent company, moved into this field with its acquisition of Tedrive, now called Knorr-Bremse Steering Systems, in 2016.

Bracht also said take rates for Bendix systems have increased in 2017, which will be a record sales year for the company.

In response to higher demand, Bendix has added a new air disc brake assembly line at its manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Ky.

In mid-2018, Bendix will launch the next generation of its flagship collision-mitigation system, Wingman Fusion, which uses a combination of cameras and radar to provide earlier alerts and interventions to prevent crashes.

“We’re going to be able to scrub off even more speed with our cameras, radars and brakes working together — up to 50% more speed than our current Fusion system,” said Fred Andersky, director of customer solutions for the company’s controls business.

Andersky, displaying BlindSpotter detection system, by John Sommers II for TT

The new Fusion will add highway departure braking, which alerts the driver and applies braking if the truck goes off the road.

It also will include an adaptive cruise control feature designed to make it easier for drivers to creep forward in congested traffic to help reduce fatigue.

Another new feature will be multi-lane automatic emergency braking to prevent a driver who avoids one potential collision from getting into another one. When the system starts to intervene and the driver swerves to avoid an imminent crash but there also is a vehicle in the other lane, the system remains engaged to help prevent that collision as well, Andersky said.

The new Fusion will use the same hardware as today’s version, making it “an easy retrofit” for current customers, he added.

Also next year, Bendix plans to introduce a new version of its SafetyDirect platform, which captures video and other data to help fleets track what happens out on the road. Among the new features will be facial recognition technology to prevent drowsy driving, Andersky said.

He also continued to stress the importance of driver-assistance technologies on the industry’s path toward autonomy.

“We don’t see drivers going away any time soon … so we want to make sure that they can do the best job they can,” Andersky said.

Bendix announced several other product launches or updates at NACV.

The supplier introduced its Intellipark automatic parking brake technology to prevent “rollaway” accidents.

Intellipark, designed for air-braked vehicles, uses interlocks installed in key areas such as the seat, seat belt or cab door to automatically set the parking brake if the driver exits the vehicle without properly engaging it.

This prevents property damage or injuries caused by a parked truck rolling away after the driver steps out of the cab, Bendix said.

The company also will soon offer an upgraded version of its BlindSpotter side object detection system, featuring a more effective radar unit and integration with Wingman Fusion.

BlindSpotter uses a radar unit mounted on the passenger side and an in-cab display to alert drivers to vehicles in adjacent lanes. The new radar unit is the same size and uses the same mounting hardware as the previous version, but features a wider field of view.

In addition, Bendix has launched its EnduraSure spring brake line, which replaces the EverSure spring brake, and has added a premium option, the EnduraSure Pro.