School buses are one of the safest modes of transportation in the United States. Now, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and leading school bus manufacturer Thomas Built Buses are joining forces to make them even safer.
Thomas Built, a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, is offering the Bendix Intellipark Electronic Parking Brake as factory-installed optional equipment on its Saf-T-Liner C2 – and as factory-installed standard equipment on the Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric bus – effective July 1, 2020. Thomas Built is the first school bus original equipment manufacturer to make Intellipark available.
Intellipark helps prevent rollaway and runaway crashes by automatically setting the parking brake if the driver exits the vehicle without setting it. Additionally, it offers immediate driver-friendly benefits, such as ease of use and clear indication of parking brake status.
“Developing advanced safety technologies that help keep student passengers safe and support school bus drivers is a critical mission at Bendix, and we’re delighted to combine efforts with Thomas Built Buses in this important step,” says Scott Burkhart, Bendix Vice President – Sales, Marketing, and Business Development. “Data show there’s no safer option for transporting students to and from school, but even a single accident is one too many. Both in terms of safety and driver satisfaction, the Bendix Intellipark Electronic Parking Brake is there to assist the legion of men and women who travel our roads every day doing their vital, challenging job.”
Engineered for Safety
“At Thomas Built Buses – where the safety and comfort of the people in our school buses is paramount – we are committed to offering proven advanced technologies on our vehicles, for their safety advantages and the added peace of mind they bring,” says Anca Matache, Product Planning Manager for Thomas Built Buses. “Intellipark provides unique benefits, complementing the other safety features built into our buses and further helping to back up the drivers piloting them.”
Intellipark’s rollaway prevention capability is made possible through interlocks – installed in critical areas such as vehicle speed, ignition, foot brake, and door – that can engage the parking brake electronically in circumstances where the system determines that the vehicle is stationary and should have the park brakes activated. The custom interlocks also prevent unintentional park brake release and ensure best practices are utilized prior to releasing the parking brake.
Even if the system is never called upon to activate in a potential rollaway situation, it still delivers improvements to drivers. Intellipark replaces the traditional yellow push/pull knob with an easy-to-flip switch that requires less effort and doesn’t deliver the popping “sting” that comes with manually activating a 120-psi hand-controlled brake valve.
The new switch still maintains the familiar yellow symbols and text, along with integrated LEDs that clearly indicate the status of the parking brake. It also offers increased durability and additional cycles over the current pneumatic system.
“Along with the safety benefits, Bendix engineered Intellipark with a close eye on improving the driving experience for the professionals behind the wheel,” says Rebecca Carter, Bendix Product Manager for Specialty Valves. “Refining the human interface is an important matter to people who spend a lot of time behind the wheel of an air-braked vehicle. Based on the extensive testing of Intellipark that we’ve done on the road with drivers, the enhanced ergonomic design – along with being able to tell at a glance whether the parking brake is set or not – truly raises the bar.”
Carter continues, “The industry has enthusiastically responded to this technology because it can be such a game changer when you consider how it can enhance safety and driver satisfaction. The advance in parking brake technology that Intellipark represents is another example of how Bendix is shaping tomorrow’s transportation, together with Thomas Built Buses and our other valued industry partners.”
Tested and Proven
Bendix Intellipark has gone through Bendix’s own exhaustive vehicle testing, along with the real-world experiences of test fleets – exposing the system to the widest range of conditions possible, over hundreds of thousands of park and auto-park cycles.
In addition to school buses, Intellipark can be used on almost any air-braked vehicle, including tractor-trailers, single-unit trucks, and motorcoaches. School districts and fleets can use information from the data Intellipark provides through Bendix SafetyDirect to enhance their safety programs and driver training efforts.
Bendix stresses that, while Intellipark 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.