As technologies continue to advance, a number of innovative technologies have been introduced to help enhance the safety of road users, from drivers to pedestrians.
While these technologies were offered only as a premium during their introductory period, they are now available in most vehicles sold in the market to enhance safety on the road.
Here’s a roundup of some of the readily available technologies that enhances safety on the road!
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Video on How ABS works
ABS is an anti-skid braking system that is designed to prevent wheels from locking up during braking, thereby maintaining tractive contact with the road surface. There are four main components in ABS, which are:
Speed sensors: Used to determine the acceleration or deceleration of the wheel, enabling the ABS to know when a tyre is about to lock.
Valves: Used to channel brake fluid to the brake module.
Pump: Used to restore the pressure to the hydraulic brakes after the valves have released it.
Controller: An ECU type unit in the car which receives information from each individual wheel speed sensor. If a wheel loses traction, the signal is sent to the controller to activate the ABS modulator which actuates the braking valves on and off.
ABS offers improved vehicle control and increased braking distances on various road surfaces, allowing drivers to react in an increased timeframe therefore reducing room for error. ABS also form the basis for other types of brake assistance systems such as Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and enhances vehicle control assistance systems such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control System (TSC).
ABS is featured in a plethora of vehicles sold in the Malaysian market as a safety standard feature. Cars such as the newest Proton Saga, Perodua Bezza and locally assembled Kia Picanto (2018 model) features this safety technology as a standard across all variants.
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Video on how EBD works
EBS is a vehicle brake technology that automatically varies the amount of brake force applied to each of a vehicle’s wheels, based on various factors such as road conditions, speed and angle of the vehicle.
EBD is always coupled with ABS and uses the same components as the latter. EBD is designed to apply variable amount of braking pressure to each wheel in order to maximize stopping power whilst maintaining vehicular control.
Similar to ABS, EBD is offered in various cars sold in the Malaysian market. The Perodua Axia (for variant 1.0 G and above), the latest Proton Iriz (all variants) and the newest Bezza (all variants) comes equipped with EBD.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Video on How ESC works
ESC is a computerised technology that enhances a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. The application of ESC is enhanced with the availability of ABS and EBD, by allowing the system to individually channel brake pressure to each wheel of the vehicle.
The functions of ESC are activated through the sensors located in various parts of the vehicle such as:
Steering wheel angle sensor: Used to determine where the driver wants to steer.
Yaw rate sensor: Used to measure the rotation rate of the car.
Lateral acceleration sensor: Used to measure the vehicle’s lateral acceleration (accelerometer).
Wheel speed sensor: Used to measure the speed of each wheel.
The ESC module is also equipped with a hydraulic modulator (which is also contained in the ABS module) to assure that each wheel receives the correct brake force but instead of reducing pressure during braking, ESC may increase pressure in certain situations.
ESC is available in vehicles for a slightly higher price but affordable, nonetheless. Proton’s newest Saga (Premium AT variant), Perodua’s latest Myvi (all variants) and Axia (variant 1.0 GXtra Automatic and above) features ESC.
Traction Control System (TCS)
Video on How TCS Works
TCS is designed to prevent the loss of traction to avoid vehicles from skidding. TCS is activated when the system detects a loss of road grip that compromises steering control and stability of vehicles.
This usually happens due to various factors such as road conditions, vehicle speed and vehicle turn angle. For example, driving from a dry road to a wet road will cause a loss of traction due to the slippery conditions on the wet surface, which can cause a loss of control.
In many vehicles, TCS is offered to supplement the function of ABS as they utilise similar components and is available in vehicles in a price range similar to vehicles that are equipped with ESC.