Evaluating the Effectiveness of Electronic Stability Systems in Reducing Truck Rollovers
The objective of this research is to develop a customized hardware-in-the-loop system that is used to test Electronic Stability Program (ESP) systems to prevent heavy truck rollovers when navigating horizontal roadway curves. While most of the published literature on electronic stability control focuses on the effectiveness of stability systems in passenger cars, very few researchers have considered its application as it pertains to commercial vehicles. Detailed crash data that have been extracted from the crashes that are represented in the Large Truck Crash Causation Study database have been used to draw conclusions regarding the main cause of the crashes and the geometry of the road upon which the crashes occurred. Those crash scenarios were run through a hardware-in-the-loop system that communicates between the TruckSim software, a vehicle dynamics based simulation program, and a real-time tractor-trailer braking rig. The simulations were first run without the ESP enabled to determine the critical speed which will cause the truck to roll, then the same simulation runs were executed with the Bendix stability system enabled to determine the difference in speeds in which a rollover is inevitable with and without the technology. A third speed that represents the lowest speed in which the stability system activates was also determined. As requested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this study also serves as a comparison between the Bendix system and the Meritor WABCO system which has already been tested by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.