Bosch ESP celebrates 25 years todaySeptember 7, 2020
Almost 25 years ago, the electronic stability program ESP was invented: Bosch and Daimler-Benz first applied it in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in 1995.
For 25 years, ESP has been keeping vehicles safe on the go, even in critical situations. Bosch emergency researchers estimate that in the EU alone, the stabilization system has saved nearly 15,000 lives and prevented nearly half a million injury accidents in the last quarter of a century. Along with the seat belt and airbag, ESP is one of the most important lifesaving devices in a car.
“The development of the electronic stabilization program was an important milestone on the road to zero road fatalities,” says Bosch Management Board Member Harald Kröger. – ESP is a prime example of what we mean by the slogan “made for life”. Since its launch in 1995, Bosch has continued to improve its stability control and has produced over 250 million ESP systems to date. It is impossible to imagine a modern car without this electronic guardian angel. Globally, 82% of new vehicles are equipped with ESP, up from 64% back in 2017. ”
Electronic Stability Control is especially effective in wet or icy conditions when avoiding unexpected obstacles such as animals, or when driving at high speed on tight bends. ESP can prevent up to 80% of all skid-related accidents. It combines the functions of anti-lock braking (ABS) and traction control (TCS) systems, but it can do more: for example, detect a car’s skid and actively counteract it.
The stabilization system uses the vehicle dynamics data to determine if the vehicle is moving in the direction the driver is asking. If these data do not match, ESP intervenes. At first glance, this may seem simple, but in fact, the operation of the system is a complex process. Intelligent sensors match the steering wheel angle to the vehicle’s path 25 times per second. If the readings differ, ESP will lower the engine torque and brake individual wheels. Thus, the system helps the driver prevent the vehicle from skidding.
This achievement has a long history. It began in the 1980s, when independently Bosch and Daimler-Benz were making efforts to achieve greater vehicle stability. From 1992 until the introduction of the invention to the market, the experts of the two companies united in one design department. The legendary “moose test” in 1997 helped make a real breakthrough in system design. During this test for a Swedish car magazine, a Mercedes-Benz A-Class overturned in a collision. In response, Mercedes-Benz included ESP as standard equipment. Since then, more and more vehicles from various car manufacturers have been equipped with stabilization systems.
Fewer accidents, fewer injuries, fewer fatalities – legislators have also recognized the benefits of ESP and made it mandatory for vehicles in many regions of the world. In the EU, the process of introducing this norm was gradual. Since November 2011, the requirement to equip the vehicle with the ESP system has become relevant for new passenger cars and commercial vehicles. From November 1, 2014, all newly registered passenger cars and commercial vehicles have been added to this list. In Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, and the United States, the mandatory use of the stabilization system is either legally established or voluntary. European experience shows that as the proportion of vehicles equipped with this system increases, the number of accidents decreases.
“ESP has taken road safety to a new level,” says Bosch Management Board Member Harald Kroeger. And this is true for different types of vehicles. Bosch offers customized ESP systems for all types of powertrains (from combustion engines to electric motors), as well as for all types of vehicles (from minibuses to commercial vehicles). The company even developed an ESP for motorized two-wheeled vehicles. The Motorcycle Stability Control System MSC, launched by Bosch in 2013, provides the best possible stability in all driving situations and is another groundbreaking advancement in road safety.
ESP is also the underlying technology for many driver assistance systems, including self-driving, which Bosch sees as the foundation for the zero-fatality concept. “Whether new or tried and tested, Bosch technologies warn and support drivers in critical situations. And increasingly they are able to take on repetitive and tedious tasks. This enables us to further reduce the number of accidents and road traffic accidents, ”says Kroeger. Whether the person is driving or not, Bosch will still be able to prevent accidents in the future.
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