Bosch invented the ESP electronic stability program in 1995 since when it has prevented a colossal 190,000 accidents and saved 6,000 lives around Europe. The European Union has understood the serious advantages of the system and has agreed to make it a standard fitment in all vehicles post 1st November 2014.
Talking about this system in a country where even Airbags are a luxury more than a mandate might seem irrelevant, but imagine about that one day one moment when a safety technology will save a human life. All costs incurred on safety become worthwhile when a person encounters a serious accident and lives to tell about it.
How does and ESP work?
One of the most dangerous situations while driving a car swerves on the road and the driver loses control on steering and braking resulting in an accident. This can happen on any road surface you question, dry, wet, damp, loose gravel, sand, essentially all sort of conditions prevalent on our roads. The electronic stability program is a collection of smart sensors and processors that analyses that direction in which the car is travelling is what the driver intends through steering input.
When the system judges that the direction of motion of the vehicle is not matching the measured values, the ESP system steps in and decreases engine torque. If that does not correct the issue, working in conjunction with the ABS unit, the ESP system brakes individual wheels thus generating the counterforce required to keep the car on the desired course. Anti lock braking systems were also invented by Bosch in the year 1978 which works side-by-side the ESP to prevent vehicle collisions.
Other area where ESP helps is the hill-assist system many cars come equipped today. The hill-assist or hill-start system essentially prevents a vehicle rolling backwards when driving off a slop or steep ascent. Also the electronic stability program prevents the risks of rollover of SUVs as they have more ground clearance and experience body roll much higher than saloons or hatchbacks.
ESP helps other driver assists as well!
ESP is one of the major players when you consider various other driver assists. With the current development of automated driving a buzz across the automobile community, ESP systems further keep on advancing thus playing even crucial roles in an automobile.
Is it only for expensive and premium cars?
Actually no! Bosch manufacturers and sells ESP systems in as a modular concept, which implies they can be tailored to the specific requirements of a vehicle keeping installation costs low. The system ranges from affordable ESP light for smaller entry-level cars for emerging markets like ours, or specialised modules like ESP hev regenerative braking systems for hybrids and electric vehicles for developed countries.
Many nations have realised the benefits of ESP systems and made them a mandate for all vehicles sold in the country. United States and Canada did this back in the year 2011. European Union has just set ESP a compulsion for all vehicles from this year, and Australia and Israel already did. Next in line would be Russia, Japan, Korea and Turkey to standardise ESP systems across their vehicles in the coming years.
It can be understood that ESP systems will cost higher and would result in increased prices of the cars, but we are talking of the safety of human lives here. The sales of the industry are already dwindling and this suggestion would worsen the situation, but consider what is more important, a booming car sales or the actual safety of passengers. These passengers might include your friends, family, colleagues, batch mates, or simply put, human lives. The saying holds very true, and even so in the cases of traffic accidents, ‘prevention is better than cure’.