Comparisons with Electronic Stability Control


Electronic Stability Control - ESC

Excerpt- ...without the added value of combining top-speed limiter control with ESC, the reckless driver may then (now) simply use the enhancement provided by ESC to facilitate their predilection for excessive speeds! - and hence lose controll [and skid] at 140km/h instead of 125km/h! This exposes the brilliant thinking? of some of those 'incompetents' within the traffic safety industry  ...their not recognizing the speed limiting availability that would cover both...> read more below>.

NB The first part of this article is a critique of the information in a TV One News bulletin - 14 June 2006

It is widely known that many late model vehicles now contain sophisticated electronic mechanisms that are designed to control specific functions associated with preventing the vehicle from becoming out-of-control;  i. e. improving stability by reducing  loss of grip between tyres and the road surface.

These systems work by using electronic [computer] programmes to initiate - in the main - braking type applications on for example individual wheels.  This in turn can aid in helping the vehicle to maintain its balance and prevent skidding.

The effectiveness of the system, over and above that which most DRIVERS could typically manipulate  is that this (individual wheel) braking, or ‘drive train’ control, can be applied almost exactly in accordance with the most effective application - and therefore timing - for any specific situation. This enhanced effectiveness of the braking mechanisms is achieved by sophisticated computer programmes - that can calculate what is occurring regarding the vehicle’s road holding dynamics, and balance - then collate the information with the necessary control functions, e.g. brakes and / or ‘drive-train’ mechanisms.
Naturally, being a computer chip activated system; it can do this many times per second.

Hence the greatly enhanced effectiveness - over and above what a driver could normally achieve.

In accordance with the main subject of this website, is there not a glaringly obvious question; "Why not use these (same) systems to restrict the excessive and unnecessary Top Speeds of vehicles?".

ESC are also referred to as “active” vehicle safety systems:

For example, Air bags are termed “Passive Safety Features”  -  their effectiveness takes place after an impact - e.g. an ambulance beneath the cliff.
Conversely, stability control programmes are termed Active - because they can be likened to having a fence the top of the cliff.

Interestingly, ESC advancements and their benefits to safety were highlighted and explained on the  NZ TV One evening News,14 June 2006. 
On that bulletin, the systems were being applauded and endorsed by the American Vehicle Insurance Industry. Evidently that insurance council has been so convinced of their effectiveness for reducing crashes, that they are calling for ESC to become mandatory on all compliant vehicles - in the near future.
In supporting their assertion of the inherent safety values, they have stated (at that time,2006) that the systems can provide a 43 percent reduction in ‘Loss of Control’ type crashes.

Importantly however, and from a public safety standpoint, they neglectied to say that these sophisticated systems can also calculate when a vehicle is travelling at a dangerous speed - for the immediate road surface conditions.
Likewise, these systems can, or could be, programmed to calculate if a particular speed were to be ‘dangerous’ - for example  because it was well above any legitimate top-speed limit.

Question; why therefore, do we not hear the proponents of these undoubtedly effective electronic mechanisms, telling the general populace, “that as well as stability control, the system can also prevent excessively high speeds from being attained. . . ? - that is, if the ESL activation [embedded within the general controlling software] were to be calibrated to activate at a socially responsible limit.
[NB. On the TV One News bulletin in question, no mention or explanation was given in regards the difference between “Active” and ‘Passive’  systems.]

Technical footnote & related safety maxim:
Electronic Stability Control functions can detect when the vehicle is becoming ‘unbalanced’ in relation to its immediate road surface conditions plus weight transfer dynamics -i.e. balance.  It then activates the (designed) mechanical braking adjustments accordingly.
However, it is not programmed to activate on speed alone, which of course it ought to be.
Therefore, if the driver is not actually “spinning the wheels” - or if the speed of the vehicle is continuing on a relatively straight course, there is insufficient balance activated motion, for the system to interpret.
This means (plainly) that ESC will not be effective at inhibiting drivers from attaining excessive speeds.
The whole point of this article being, that if those who claim to be advocates of improving road safety and encouraging the use of new technologies were serious, about their vocation, they would be asking why ESC could not be programmed to facilitate as a speed restricting (limiting) function also! I.e. combine the two surely!

(Intelligent Speed Adaption/assistance) systems and other information regarding ways to restrict excessive top speeds:
Readers should refer to web information article/s such as www.Guardian.UK.speed-limiter-car> or simply search "Speed Limiters for Cars"... to gain some appreciation of the volume of advocacy surrounding speed limiting of vehicles, using 'ISA'.
However, as pointed out in our article Other Speed Limiter Info On The Internet, all of these seem to want to use the complex and underdeveloped GPS+ "roadside/transponder integration" methods - which totally ignore that an effective and economical system is already available. I.e. Very little information and advocacy is available concerning straightforward top-speed regulation of the embedded functions in late model cars - and that are not being utilised responsibly.

Andy Knackstedt - "Moving With The Times... " (2006)

In January 2006, on nationwide TV News, Andy Knackstedt (NZ Traffic Safety Media Spokesperson) has stated, ...that in order to have continuing improvements and/or reductions to the road toll, "you can't stand still".... and he also alluded that legislators must "move with the times"... - and be prepared to "introduce new measures and strategies".
We wonder therefore if Mr Knackstedt has heard of modern speed limiter functions yet?

Andy Knackstedt "Raises Consumer Awareness " about modern automotive safety electronics? (in 2007)
Again, on Nationwide TV 16 May 2007, Mr Knackstedt proves his dedication [?] to road safety strategies by stating that, "It is the job of government organisations to raise consumer awareness about the usefulness of safety systems..." in reference to such applications as the electronic stability control - that was being discussed.
...  ...  ...

2007 TV Up-date. . .

TV3 News - 28 November 2007
On this News bulletin we once again see 'electronic stability control' being lauded as a very important "and new" vehicle safety function. It is promoted, by the spokesperson from ACC, as being something that the wider public ought to be made aware of!

A video clip is shown - of a demonstration where a vehicle with ESC is performing "swerve & evade" manoeuvres; to illustrate the comparison with a similar vehicle not equipped with the electronic enhancement.
It is stated, that had every vehicle on the (New Zealand) roads been equipped with ESC, this would have saved 40 lives in 2006!
The Hyundai spokesperson, who was featured also, said;
"For us it is a No-Brainer..." - that is, for Hyundai to have ESC installed on all their vehicles.

In terms of evaluating the priorities of some LTNZ staff (at that time) towards road safety, it is interesting to note the comments of Paul Graham. When providing his feedback concerning modern 'Active Safety' features, he makes the point [in regards electronic stability control] "once traction is lost, a driver is unable to hold the car on the road...." & "though ESC can improve stability of the car when manoeuvring . . . it doesn't change the laws of physics."
This evaluation by Mr Graham is quite correct. However, the question then is "why have ESC been lauded as being of huge value in terms of improved road safety, by a variety of associated people"?
That is to ask - in respect of those who have lost a loved-one through a straightforward high speed incident - "Would it not make greater (priority) sense to expound the (greater) benefits of computer chip activated top speed limiting technology, in addition to
that offered by ESC"?

Andy Knackstedt in 2011: According the report www._driver-clocked-at-185km/h... [] Mr Knackstedt still hasn't heard about, or raised awareness about, top speed limiters - even at this late stage of May 2011....  Evidently, preventing reckless motorists from doing 185km/h is less of a priority than preventing skidding at slower speeds - or one could assume this based on Mr Knackstedts' failure to raise awareness of available Speed-Limiter functions. One would expect though that if both remedies can be applied at the same time, then Andy Knackstedt would be asking for this?

...Another 'incompetent' - who could "arguably" be advocating for the continued use of high speeds on public roads - who we shall refer to by his first name, Steve J has attempted to argue against implementation of top-speed Limiters on the spurious grounds that "...excessive speed is largely in the hands (the control) of the driver... and therefore, initiatives designed to change reckless attitude's is currently the best way to proceed..." -He further comments... "whereas ESC can prevent a car from skidding even when it may be within legal limits, but, going too fast for conditions".
However, what Steve fails to consider is that many cars that crash 'off-the-road' at (say) 135km/h or, go over the centre-line into an 'on-coming' when at 135km/h, are already in a SKID just prior to impact.

Examples: Driver_clocked_at_162km/h... &...  217Km/h_on-Waikato-Exprssway...<_177km/h_... &... <drink_driver-@_100Mp/hour...  <

Perhaps Steve isn't intelligent enough to imagine that if you are endeavouring to change the reckless "attitudes" of the driver, who might (otherwise) drive at 135km/h - but at the same time as mandating ESC you are ignoring the remedy offered by ESL - there is serious conflict! of interst perhaps. What you are (then) saying to the reckless driver, is that they now have a vehicle with skid preventing technology, but no limit on top-speed!
This driver may then simply use the ESC [adittional stability function] to further enhance their predilection for excessive speeds. . . and "skid-crash" at 140km/h instead of 125km/h.

Intrigue update; The Northern Advocate_16 Feb_2017_reports... "18 crashes in 34 hours mostly attributal to wet/slipper roads after long dry spell...".  In 2017 it is reasonable to assume that most of these vehicles would have had ESC, therefore is the former claim by its promotors that it provides tremendous skid control ability somewhat exagerated? See also: Profesor says it would make little sense to focus on electronic systems... _and neglect/ignor_other..._which-could-virtualy_eliminate_high_speed_crashes.

As Steve and some of his advisers have said; "ESC will not defy the laws of physics, it can only go so far in keeping the car on the road, after which it will still lose traction".

[NB. Brilliant work? Steve J.!... when you had the political power to inform about the use of both fuctions working together.  In future we may have reckless drivers going into skids at 140km/h instead of losing control (on the same part of roadway) at the lessor speed they might otherwise have skidded at.]

Incidently; when a driver falls asleep at the wheel, what happens to their accellerator foot? does it "lift off" or "press down"??

Nullifying some benefits of stability control - - - In other words, without the added use (buzz-phrase "added value") of the combining speed-limiter function with ESC, some drivers may be induced to use even greater speeds than previously, nullifying most of the benefits of stability control.

Refer also:<> ...<...strategies_that_work_&-Public_faith/in/paradoxical/research/common-misconceptions->Note: this Pdf is a very informative/ researched document on the role that Media combined with uninformed perception can play, in creating non-sensical ideas.

Q:> ...speed control devices for cars... other sites on the internet?... parents of 'ego-vulnerable' teenage drivers might realise we already have them...

...Additional content on ESC combined ESL functionality is pending...