Active Safety Technologies - Discern the definitions of systems that help you handle the unforeseen.
By The Editors/autoMedia.com
|Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) |
What it is: Vehicle Stability Control is a computer-controlled system
that helps the driver retain control of the vehicle during extreme cornering
or in other emergency situations.
How it works: VSC utilizes technology from ABS and Traction Control,
along with accelerometer technology from aerospace. A sophisticated
microprocessor compares the rotational speed of the wheels, the throttle
position, steering angle "yaw" (turning motion) and other factors to determine
if the vehicle has suddenly lost grip in a corner and begun to "understeer"
(where the front wheels slip or "plow" straight ahead) or "oversteer" (where
the rear wheels slip or "fishtail"). When this happens, the microprocessor
sends signals to the brakes and throttle to help bring the car back on line.
Engine output may be momentarily reduced and one or more wheels may be braked
to help restore control.
What it feels like: Depending on the system, VSC may work seamlessly
and invisibly to lend a helping hand when the driver has attempted to exceed
the vehicle's handling capabilities, or it may be more abrupt, noticeably
slowing the vehicle. The best-engineered systems work so quickly and
accurately that the driver scarcely senses they're at work.
How it benefits the driver: VSC is one of the most effective electronic
"helping hands" for drivers invented so far. By making the vehicle's handling
more predictable in challenging situations, VSC can help the driver better
maintain control and avoid an accident.
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM)
What it is: Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), currently
available on only a few higher-end vehicles, is a step beyond VSC in
technology and performance. VDIM enhances handling, traction and braking
systems that normally react to vehicle driving conditions by anticipating tire
slippage before a skid, slide or wheel spin occurs and making corrections in a
smooth, progressive way.
How it works: VDIM uses an active control strategy that takes its cues
from a comprehensive range of sensors involved in Vehicle Stability Control
(VSC), Traction Control (TRC), Brake Assist (BA), Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) and
Electronic Throttle Control with intelligence (ETC-i). In addition, three new
technologies are employed that are central to the effectiveness of VDIM:
Electric Power Steering (EPS), Electronically Controlled Brakes (ECB), and in
the GS 430 only, Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS). VDIM integrates all of
these elements with powerful proprietary software to help seamlessly manage
the total vehicle dynamic package.
What it feels like: Tight integration of all dynamic systems makes VDIM
feel transparent to the driver. Since VDIM predicts and then works to prevent
loss of vehicle control, the most noticeable characteristic of the system's
operation is the vehicle's unusually predictable handling.
How it benefits the driver: With all of the traction control
technologies working together under the VDIM "umbrella," handling smoothness
is dramatically enhanced. VDIM helps to improve handling and driving pleasure,
even in the most challenging conditions.