ELYRIA, Ohio — The technologies on display are highly complex, but the reason Bendix hosts demonstrations to showcase them couldn’t be more simple: to give fleets, drivers, dealers, and other industry professionals an unparalleled, firsthand view of these advanced systems.
In that spirit, Bendix launches the 2019 season – the 14th consecutive year – of its popular regional ride-and-drive demos March 12-14 at Houston Motorsports Park in Houston.
Bendix will follow with nine other regional demonstrations – part of a larger overall demo agenda – at locations throughout the United States and Canada into November, while also delivering a slate of customer-specific “at your door” demos.
Dates and locations of those demonstrations will be announced later. Check thetrucker.com as those dates and locations are announced in the future.
The 10 regional demos provide OEM-specific sessions, and any fleets and dealers in the demo area are welcome, as well as drivers and driver trainers. At these events, participants experience advanced technologies in action – in real-world scenarios that drivers encounter daily.
“Nothing equals these in-person demos for delivering impact and understanding,” said Fred Andersky, Bendix manager of marketing demonstrations and customer interactions. “Literature, videos, and talking to salespeople all have value in conveying the technology, but until you’re actually in the seat of a truck cab, you can’t truly appreciate the power and performance that these technologies can deliver – or their limitations.”
As part of its long-standing commitment to help the industry understand new technologies and support driver training initiatives, Andersky said Bendix has been refining the demo experience for the last decade.
Since 2014, the busy Bendix demo team – which travels nearly every week to destinations around the U.S. and Canada – has conducted close to 400 demos for almost 7,000 participants. In 2018 alone, the team hosted 83 events, in 16 states and three provinces in Canada, for in excess of 1,300 participants.
These also included demos developed specifically as an information resource for groups that support or regulate the trucking industry.
“Bendix demos are designed to offer value on a number of levels. They help fleet managers and owner-operators determine if technologies being considered for purchase are right for their operations,” Andersky said. “Then, once new technologies are added, the demos help the customer get the most out of their safety technology investment by training the fleet’s drivers – and driver trainers – on the systems, a critical step that is too often overlooked.”
Driver training and education – a popular session the company offers at its regional demos – sets Bendix’s demo program apart, Andersky pointed out. Last year, the company expanded its training by adding a half-day session devoted to it at the regional demos.
The training opens with a classroom segment in which the demo team reviews the technologies, using video support, and answers questions. Then they move to the track, where participants log a couple of hours in the trucks – including behind the wheel – with Bendix demo drivers. A question-and-answer period closes the session. Bendix’s technology experts are on hand throughout, and attendees also can make use of interactive displays.
Bendix places a premium on offering drivers and driver trainers a well-rounded educational experience, punctuated by the time in the truck.
“Allowing drivers and driver trainers to experience the technology in real-world situations – with coaches available to aid understanding – helps them comprehend what the technology alerts mean and what to expect when the system intervenes,” Andersky said. “Most importantly, demo training shows how to make sure the system doesn’t intervene – in other words, driving in their normal safe and alert mode.”
Bendix shows the full spectrum of its safety technologies at the demos, including the flagship advanced driver assistance system, Bendix Wingman Fusion; and the industry-dominating Bendix ADB22X air disc brake. The company shows trailer technologies as well. This year will also showcase the accessibility and scope of the new Bendix® Retrofit Upgrade Program, air dryer technologies including the PuraGuard oil-coalescing air dryer filter, as well as the Bendix Intellipark automatic parking brake technology – and, expected to join the demo program mid-year, steering control.
Driver training at the demos works in concert with other Bendix driver-support tools, such as the “driving with” videos – spotlighting driver assistance technologies – on the Bendix YouTube channel, along with operator’s manuals, FAQs, and quick-reference documents.
At every demo, company representatives emphasize that advanced safety technologies are designed to complement safe driving practices, and that no commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques. The drivers behind the wheel – supported by proactive, ongoing driver training – are vital to highway safety, and maintain responsibility for the safe operation of any vehicle at all times.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.