WABCO, one of the leading providers of braking systems and advanced technologies to the commercial vehicle industry, has many technologies for the three industry mega trends - autonomous driving, electrification and connected vehicles. In this interview, P Kaniappan, Managing Director, WABCO India Ltd, highlights the importance of braking systems for making driving safer and the company’s innovative solutions.
Advanced electronics and electronic stability control brake systems are among the key innovations shaping the future of mobility. How is your company tapping these trends?
WABCO’s electronic stability control (ESC) called ESCsmart is a globally proven technology and is considered as the next step of innovation after anti-lock braking system (ABS) for Indian commercial vehicles. WABCO has pioneered ESC for commercial vehicles since 2001 and has sold more than one million ESC systems since its introduction. WABCO India is committed to safety has been working with all OEMs to launch stability control as a first mover to the market. Many of the OEM vehicle platforms have proactively released our electronic stability control system considering the need for active safety, which prevents accidents. Many of the fleets especially the hazardous goods carriers, oil tankers, car carriers and global fleets are adopting ESC and specifying the same in their vehicle specifications.
Globally, many of the countries in Europe and US have mandated ESC in commercial vehicles due to which there has been a significant reduction in road accidents. The Governmnet of India is committed to reduce the road accidents and adopt the global standard and technologies in safety. WABCO India supports Government of India’s vision to reduce road accidents for which we are partnering with the Government and other stakeholders. We are proactively preparing for bringing ESC technology on a large scale by kicking off the localisation road map and also establishing our vehicle testing facility infrastructure to support the homologation of all vehicles.
What are the emerging trends in braking systems of automotives?
WABCO has been the pioneer in bringing several innovations in braking systems and advanced technologies to the commercial vehicle industry. After the adoption of anti-lock braking system, the industry is now moving towards electronic stability control and electronic braking system for trucks and trailers.
Electronic Braking System (EBS) provides uniform braking, reduced stopping distance and saves tyres from abnormal wear. EBS is brake by electronic signal (brake by wire) technology, which helps the braking system to react faster and enables regenerative braking which is very critical for electric vehicles. EBS when combined with telematics also enables very useful data collection on the number and type of brake application, driver behaviour and helps to identify risky routes. Many of the global fleets in India are adopting EBS combined with telematics in their tractor-trailers to improve safety and to collect data to train their drivers.
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like autonomous emergency braking systems (AEBS) and lane departure warning system (LDWS) have also been well received in the Indian market. These technologies help the drivers to maintain their lanes, warn drivers when there is a threat of forward collision intervenes autonomously and applies the brakes when the driver is not alert. Accident statistics in India shows that a significant amount of accidents happens during the early morning hours due to driver fatigue because of which the driver is not alert.
WABCO’s OnGuard technology, true to its name, helps the drivers exactly in these situations when the driver is not alert. In North America, fleets, which adopted these technologies, saw more than 85 per cent reduction in accidents and associated costs. In India also, some of the early mover fleets are reaping similar benefits and the success stories are inspiring the government agencies to seriously consider adopting this technology for
OnGuard was the first commercial vehicle collision safety system with active braking. This innovative system can automatically maintain a safe following distance and helps avoid or reduce the impact of rear-end collisions by braking as needed.
The OnGuard system can activate the brakes - even before driver demand - when it detects unsafe distances between the truck and surrounding vehicle traffic, reducing the time to achieve proper braking pressure. Those extra moments can help prevent a collision or greatly reduce its impact.
OnGuard is so smart, it sees around curves. Its radar sensor technology uses an internal yaw rate sensor to detect that the host vehicle is driving in a curve and therefore adjusts its prediction of the host vehicle's travelling path to make objects relevant also driving a curve.
Air disc brakes (ADB) is another technology, which offers superior braking performance with reduced stopping distances. WABCO’s patented single piston ADB technology is proven and adopted in many countries by the customers. In addition to superior braking performance, ADB also offers significant weight reduction in the vehicle.
Many of the fleets are voluntarily adopting air disc brakes and the driver feedback is very positive. Drivers are feeling more confident about the brakes and it has helped them to achieve significant improvements in productivity by reducing the turnaround times. Adoption of ADB will further complement enhancing the performance of the above mentioned advanced vehicle control systems.
What types of technologies/products you offer in ABS arena?
WABCO’s ABS system acts as a gateway to introduce many safety features in the vehicle, which are driver friendly. For example, many of the drivers find it difficult to balance the clutch and brake pedals when the vehicle is on a slope and the vehicle sometimes rolls back and causes rear end collisions. Our hill start aid (HSA) technology built on the ABS platform is designed exactly to prevent such accidents by holding the vehicle brake and allowing even the semi-skilled driver to handle such start-stop situations on slopes efficiently without roll back. Another useful feature built on ABS is automatic traction control (ATC), which helps the vehicle to maintain traction and come out of situations when one of the vehicle wheels is stuck.
Will increase in traction for hybrid and electric vehicles lead to changes in braking system technology? Is your company working on this area?
WABCO offers a full range of braking solutions for hybrid and electric vehicles. We offer proven technologies through our range of:
For ABS, imports still account for a major share. Is there scope to raise localisation for ABS system? Are you planning to increase local content in your ABS products?
As a technology leader, WABCO is committed to safety and we have proactively localised more than 90 per cent of the components in ABS system. We are proud to say that WABCO has made a major contribution to road safety in India by pioneering this technology, making it affordable and helping the industry to adopt this technology faster.
What are your growth plans for braking system business? Are you targeting any specific product range or vehicle category for growth?
WABCO has many innovative technology solutions in the three industry mega trends shaping the commercial vehicle industry today namely autonomous driving, electrification and connected vehicles.
Our autonomous driving roadmap includes 360-degree sensing solutions, actuation systems for braking, steering, transmission along with stability control and fail safe braking systems. In the domain of connectivity, we offer a range of end-to-end solutions for fleet management and the road map enables vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity and remote diagnostics apart from many of the features to manage the fleet efficiently to improve utilisation and reduce costs. In the domain of electrification, we offer a full range of braking systems and other control systems for electric and hybrid vehicles.
In short, we anticipate exciting times ahead for WABCO India to grow and continue to outperform the market.