Bendix Fusion flagship system to add lane centering, highway assist, more

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The Bendix FLC20 camera is used with Bendix Wingman Fusion and is part of Bendix flagship camera- and radar-based collision mitigation technology. (Courtesy: BENDIX COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SYSTEMS)

ELYRIA, Ohio — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems said Wednesday that forthcoming Bendix Wingman Fusion upgrades in hardware and software will power new collision mitigation and driver assistance features, including Traffic Jam Assist, Highway Assist and Pedestrian/Cyclist Alerts, along with steering capabilities such as Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Centering.

The new state-of-the-art components fully support SAE Level 2 driving functions, building on Bendix’s proven existing suite of technologies, laying the groundwork for future integration with Electronic Braking Systems (EBS), and enhancing driver, vehicle, and highway safety. The new capabilities are expected to be available in the next two years, according to TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions — Controls Group.

Technology company and automotive supplier, Continental, supplies state-of-the-art radar and camera sensors for the solutions.

“This is a major step along the pathway to more highly automated vehicles and represents the deepest, most effective integration to date of Fusion’s forward-facing camera, front and side radar units, and Bendix’s braking and steering systems,” Thomas said. “With significantly increased radar and camera performance — which also enables greatly enhanced object detection, including road signs — we improve all of Fusion’s existing features and unlock many more advanced functions, up to SAE Level 2, such as Highway Assist.”

SAE level 2 is where the vehicle is able to control both the steering and acceleration/ deceleration ADAS capabilities. Although this allows the vehicle to automate certain parts of the driving experience, the driver remains in complete control of the vehicle at all times.

Through a previously announced global partnership for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and a path to highly automated driving between Bendix’s parent company, the Knorr-Bremse Group, and Continental, the Bendix Wingman Fusion system will utilize state-of-the-art forward radar and camera units as well as a side-facing radar from Continental.

Using sensors that are working together and not just in parallel, Fusion gathers input through the radar, video and the vehicle’s braking system, combining and cross-checking the information to create a highly detailed and accurate data picture surrounding the vehicle.

“These are among the most capable radar and cameras in the North American commercial vehicle industry, and now we’re combining them with Bendix braking and steering technologies,” Thomas said.

“Continental is delighted to contribute and to bring forward advanced driving assistance features for this key market as part of our cooperation with the Knorr-Bremse Group,” said Phil McEwen, who heads the Commercial Vehicle Customer Center for Continental North America.

Next-generation Wingman Fusion’s Lane Centering will integrate the camera and steering systems to help keep a vehicle centered along a projected path of travel, while Lane Change Assist will monitor the sides of a tractor-trailer, relative to the lane markings. Side radar will also enable the Pedestrian/Cyclist Alerts and feedback.

Highway Assist will engage when Fusion’s active cruise control with braking is set: The vehicle will not only maintain a distance with the forward vehicle — increasing safety — but will also track to near center, automatically, and follow to a defined trajectory to assist the truck and trailer to stay within the intended lane. The driver will need to have their hands on the wheel, but the system will reduce driver fatigue associated with micro-adjustments needed during normal driving activity. It is especially useful in light to moderate traffic where cut-ins and road curvatures can wear a driver down over a long day’s work.

Building on Highway Assist, Traffic Jam Assist further helps the driver when traffic becomes heavy, as the system will help the driver steer and brake at low speeds when backed-up traffic causes slowdowns.

Upcoming versions of Fusion will retain the capabilities of the system’s earlier versions: Stationary object alerts, overspeed alerts and intervention, lane departure warning, and prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Fusion can also deliver enhanced rear-end collision mitigation and stationary vehicle braking, along with multilane automatic emergency braking, highway departure braking, ACB (active cruise with braking) Stop & Driver Go and ACB Auto-Resume. Fusion has the capacity to provide full braking power on the tractor, which — combined with earlier object detection — can help reduce a vehicle’s speed by as much as 50 miles per hour when encountering stationary and slower-moving vehicles.

Lane Keeping Assist technology means that if a driver intends to change lanes while a vehicle is detected, Fusion will be able to deliver haptic feedback and steering resistance.

Because it is built on the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability system, Bendix® Wingman Fusion also helps drivers avoid additional crash situations, including rollovers and loss-of-control. Event-based data — including video — can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel.

Bendix launched the Bendix Wingman family of collision mitigation solutions in 2009. Since then, ever-advancing Wingman technologies have become available through almost all major North American Class 5-8 truck manufacturers, achieving standard position on models at Kenworth Truck Co., Peterbilt Motors, Mack Trucks, Volvo Trucks North America, and International Trucks.

Across North America, a growing number of fleets of varying size, location, and vocation spec Wingman Fusion, reporting significant reductions in rear-end collisions – as much as 90 percent – and decreased severity of those that did occur, Thomas said.

SAE International’s Levels of Driving Automation standards characterize Level 2 automation as requiring human support in the driver’s seat: Safety support systems need to be monitored, and the driver must steer, brake, or accelerate as needed to maintain safety, even when technologies like lane centering and adaptive cruise control are simultaneously employed.

“Even as we step into higher levels of commercial vehicle automation, there is no replacement for skilled, alert drivers practicing safe driving habits, and supported by proactive, ongoing driver training,” Thomas said. “Commercially available technologies, like Wingman Fusion, are meant to help prevent good drivers from having a bad day – and not to encourage or enable aggressive driving. Responsibility for the safe operation of any vehicle remains in the hands of the professional men and women behind the wheel and their dedication to safety.”

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