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I


n early March, a school bus carrying 13 passengers in Henry County, Tennessee, rolled over on its right side and crashed into a ditch. The driver said they were blinded by the sun and drove off of the road.


Five people were taken to the emergency room with minor injuries. The student passengers were fortunate. They survived. Not all are that fortunate. Such crashes are unfortunately not uncommon. Not


all, but sadly some, result in fatalities. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent aggregated school bus crash sta- tistics, there were 1,313 people of all ages killed in school transportation-related crashes from 2006 to 2015—an average of 131 fatalities per year. The vast majority die in other vehicles. But any fatality is one too many. Electronic stability control (ESC) and collision avoid- ance systems can help mitigate accidents and avoid tragedies. Today, bus manu- facturers are providing some of this technology as stan- dard on new buses. Other high-end technology is also available as an option. In the center of New York


a collision, by using sensors, radar and cameras. Such devices work together to avoid quick-acting collisions, explains Frederick Andersky, director of marketing for demonstrations and customer interactions at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. With collision mitigation braking, which is sometimes


called autonomous or automatic emergency braking, the system alerts the driver and, when it determines a colli- sion is imminent, cuts the throttle. This helps the driver avoid, or at least mitigate, the collision. All new IC Bus CE Series and RE Series school bus


state, rural Baldwinsville Central School District plans to add eight new IC Bus models with stability control and collision mitigation sys- tems. The new school buses will use a camera and radar to issue alerts and warnings for lane departure hazards or speeding incidents. The new vehicles will also provide better braking capability. Ironically, in the very same school district, a school bus had crashed, rolled over and sent five students and a driver to the hospital in 2014. Accidents do happen, but this technology does its best to prevent them. As school bus fleet managers become more aware of the technology’s utility, and remain aware of accident risk from collision and loss of stability, the technology is welcomed. Even lawmakers are proposing legislation that would mandate it. In the future, the industry can expect more buses with this technology to help avoid rollovers, loss of control and collisions, by intervening in and alerting drivers to unstable and unsafe conditions.


Collision Mitigation Systems Collision mitigation technology helps drivers avoid


Apply the brake sooner, the logic goes, and mitigate the accident sooner. 93 percent of crashes are due to human error, according to NHTSA.


models now include collision mitigation enabled by radar and electronic stability control as standard equip- ment. IC uses Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program and Bendix Wingman Advanced Collision Mitigation Bendix Wingman Fusion Collision Mitigation is available as an upgrade on the IC Bus CE Series buses. Enhanced camera technology is integrated with radar that includes lane de- parture warnings, speeding alerts and automatic braking when stationary vehicles are detected in the vehicle’s path. Andersky explained that


sensors are the core function of collision avoidance systems. He added that they are similar to an anti-lock braking system, which uses wheel speed sensors to avoid brakes from locking. Similarly, collision avoidance


systems use a steer-angle sen- sor. It goes through the steering column to monitor the driver’s intention to go left or right.


Other sensors are also mounted on the chassis. A


lateral acceleration sensor helps determine the side-to- side shift in the center of gravity (for example, if a driver navigates a turn too fast), and a sensor measures vehicle direction. Working together, they indicate a loss of con- trol. They cut the driver’s throttle and apply the brakes to slow the vehicle down and help the driver regain control. “As you can imagine, this happens a lot quicker than a


driver can typically react to, and obviously by being able to control or vary the pressure on the wheel end. That’s something that the driver, with just the brake pedal, can’t do,” says Frederick. The Bendix collision mitigation technology also uses radar, as with its Wingman Advanced product. Or it may use the radar in combination with a camera, as with the Bendix Wingman Fusion. The radar sends out a signal about 500 to 550 feet in front of the vehicle—and looks


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