Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced plans at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta to introduce a feature that automatically prevents vehicle rollaway in the event of a failure to properly set parking brakes.
Frederick Andersky, director of controls at Bendix, told STN that the Intellipark is an advanced driver-assisted technology designed not only for commercial vehicle tractor-trailer applications but also for single unit chassis vehicles, such as truck, school bus and motorcoach applications.
The Intellipark solution replaces the manual parking brake with an electronic switch and activates any time the driver leaves the driver seat or opens the door without setting the brake, which typically is accomplished in school buses by pulling a red or yellow plunger located on the dashboard.
"You could think of rollaways as the industry’s little secret – something that happens but few people talk about – unless you search online for 'rollaways,'" Andersky said.
Bendix cited statistics from technology analyst Frost & Sullivan that 60 percent of fleet managers surveyed said their operations experienced a rollaway incident over the past two years. Andersky added that Bendix does not have data on the number of recent school bus crashes attributed to rollaways, but he pointed out two high-profile incidents occurring over the past year. One involved a school principal being crushed by a rollaway school bus after pushing a student from the vehicle’s path, and another where a student was killed.
“Rollaway incidents can be terribly damaging – if not deadly – and come at great cost to fleets in terms of money, resources, and reputation. And all because the parking brake didn’t get set properly or was released accidentally,” Andersky said. “Automatic parking brake technology can help make these kinds of accidents – and their repercussions – a thing of the past.”
He added that fleet testing of Intellipark is expected to begin in 2018, with results determining the product launch date.
Meanwhile, Bendix added that it can develop additional interlocks for specific vehicle applications to help prevent accidental park release and rollbacks as well as to help deter vehicle theft.