Currently on the road in robust pilot programs with three of North America’s 25 largest for-hire carriers, the Bendix Intellipark Electronic Parking Brake continues to earn positive feedback from fleets and drivers alike, and will be available for OE release and retrofit installation in the fourth quarter of this year. Intellipark offers driver-friendly operational benefits while helping prevent rollaway and runaway crashes by automatically setting the parking brakes if the driver exits the vehicle while it’s unparked.
“Fleets have enthusiastically responded to this technology because it can be such a game changer when you look at how it can enhance safety and driver satisfaction,” says Rebecca Carter, Bendix Product Manager for Specialty Valves. “Nearly 60% of fleet managers who participated in a Frost & Sullivan survey confirmed that they had experienced a rollaway in a 24-month period. We all know that accidents happen, but rollaways can be incredibly damaging – if not deadly – and come at a great cost to fleets in terms of money, resources, and reputation. And all because the parking brake didn’t get set properly or was released accidentally.”
Carter continues, “Intellipark can help make these kinds of incidents – and their repercussions – a thing of the past. Throughout our testing, we’ve heard repeatedly that even the most experienced drivers are glad to have a backup parking brake system in place to help keep them safe.”
Bendix also engineered the Intellipark Electronic Parking Brake with an eye on improving the driving experience for the men and women behind the wheel.
“It just makes sense that the engineers who introduced the MV-3 dash control valve to the industry 30 years ago are now advancing parking brake technology to a whole new level for fleets,” says Carter.
Gone are the red and yellow push/pull knobs known for delivering the “sting” that comes with activating a 120-psi brake: Intellipark replaces them with switches that are quickly recognized (they bear the well-known red and yellow brake valve symbols), easy to flip, and pain-free. They also clearly display the brakes’ status.
“There’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and excitement about the brake indicator interface,” Carter states. “Drivers are now able to view the trailer parking brake status at a glance, thanks to the LEDs integrated into the switches. They’ve never been able to do that from looking at the knobs. And the ease of activation is particularly valuable to bus drivers, because the vast majority have to engage and disengage parking brakes at every stop.”
Intellipark’s rollaway prevention capability is made possible through interlocks installed in critical areas such as the seat belt or cab door, which can engage the parking brake electronically if the driver exits the vehicle without setting the brake first. Fleets can also use information from the data Intellipark provides through a vehicle’s J1939 communications network to enhance their safety programs and driver training efforts. Intellipark is currently available for order, with a widespread market release planned for the second half of 2019.
“Bendix’s own vehicle testing, along with the real-world experiences of test fleets, means that Intellipark has been put through the wringer for durability, extreme temperatures, vibration, thermal shock, humidity, corrosion – just about anything you can imagine out there on the road, Intellipark has been exposed to it, over hundreds of thousands of park and auto-park cycles,” Carter says. “And because of the high interest from fleets, not only are we supporting truck OEMs with Intellipark availability, but it will also be part of our Retrofit Upgrade Program portfolio beginning in October.”
The Bendix Retrofit Upgrade Program is a unique, first-of-its-kind program that enables professional installation of an expanding portfolio of Bendix advanced safety technologies – including Intellipark electronic parking brake – to upgrade vehicles that did not come factory-equipped. The Bendix Retrofit Program features two key elements: a comprehensive website that enables vehicle operators to determine retrofit opportunities per vehicle, and an escalating network of Bendix Authorized Retrofit Dealers and Distributors (ARDs) to facilitate the professional installation.
With a phased-in introduction that began in 2017, the program has already been eagerly adopted by a growing list of major fleets across North America with upgrade installations taking place daily.
Intellipark can be used on almost any air-braked vehicle, including tractor-trailers, single-unit trucks, motorcoaches, and school buses. Bendix stresses, however, that while it is designed to help drivers mitigate a variety of unsafe situations, no technology replaces the need for safe drivers practicing safe driving habits, or the support of ongoing, proactive driver training.