In April, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC conducted two well-received fleet ride-and-drive demonstrations of its safety technologies and services. Bendix hosted representatives from a wide range of fleets April 9-11 at the Fayetteville Executive Airport, Drake Field, in Fayetteville, Ark., and April 24-25 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in the Atlanta, Ga., metropolitan area.
Fleets attending represented the full scope of commercial vehicle vocations and applications. The events were part of the long-standing Proving Ground demo program offered by Bendix.
"Riding in a vehicle and experiencing Bendix's safety systems in action is a real eye-opener for our customers and, collectively, they paint a vivid picture of the value these safety systems provide," said Todd Swales, Bendix director of fleet sales. "Showing Bendix technology at work in real-world situations and letting fleets and drivers engage with our experts in person are by far the best ways we can convey our commitment to performance, safety, value and post-sales support."
From the passenger seat – and, for some, the driver's seat – attendees experienced the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability system, Bendix Wingman Advanced – A Collision Mitigation Technology, and the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake. Vehicles were also equipped with Bendix Versajust slack adjusters, the Bendix EverSure spring brake with No Touch technology, the Bendix AD-IS air dryer, the SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) by Bendix CVS, the Bendix Trailer Information Module (TIM), and AutoVue Lane Departure Warning (LDW) System from Bendix CVS.
Classroom presentations from product experts provided insight into other Bendix technologies, including the SafetyDirect Web portal and the Bendix eTrac automated air pressure transfer system for 6x2 suspensions, along with a firsthand introduction to the Bendix On-Line Brake School at www.brake-school.com. At the close of each ride and drive, Bendix also completed "at-your-door" demonstrations for fleets in the region.
For the in-cab demos in Fayetteville and Atlanta, drivers put several vehicles through maneuvers spotlighting the capabilities of Bendix technologies.
A range of stability maneuvers in a tractor-trailer equipped with the system on and off helped to illustrate how Bendix ESP addresses both roll and directional stability and is more effective than roll-only systems.
In experiencing Bendix Wingman Advanced, attendees were shown how the system builds on the foundation of Bendix ESP and delivers active cruise control with braking features, along with collision mitigation technology. Using a radar sensor mounted to the front of the vehicle, Bendix Wingman Advanced delivers both warnings and active interventions to help drivers potentially avoid rear-end collisions or at least help reduce their severity.
Whether or not cruise control is engaged, above about 15 mph, Bendix Wingman Advanced's "always available" collision mitigation braking feature can assist drivers through an alert and an automatic application of the brakes to help decelerate the vehicle when a rear-end collision may be imminent. The driver still maintains control of the vehicle and can add additional braking or steering inputs to help avoid or minimize the collision situation.
A third in-cab demonstration highlighted the stopping power of the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake, which significantly reduces stopping distance and extends brake system life. This test included repeated high-speed stops to demonstrate the ADB22X's lack of brake fade with no degradation of stopping power; passenger car-like feel; and straight, stable stops. Extensive testing and real-world applications have confirmed that Bendix air disc brakes significantly reduce stopping distances for commercial vehicles, exceeding the recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandate for Reduced Stopping Distance.
"The overwhelmingly positive feedback we received during the Southeastern U.S. leg of our 2013 Ride and Drive schedule shows that fleets and drivers everywhere share our dedication to safety, and that bringing these technologies to the customers so that they can see, feel and interact with them leads to safer roadways," Swales said.
Bendix will conduct a number of fleet demos throughout the remainder of 2013, offering in-person experiences across the United States.