When Werner Enterprises’ first electric-powered truck hits the road for a year-long pilot program, the professional drivers at the wheel will be supported by Bendix Wingman Fusion – the flagship collision mitigation system from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC. The 2019 Peterbilt Model 579EV Class 8 truck features the first full-electric TransPower motor paired with a complete collision avoidance system, and will run on a dedicated account in southern California.
“Werner has been a valued safety partner of Bendix for years, so when their team requested that this groundbreaking truck include the same advanced driver assistance technologies as their fleet’s diesel units, we embraced the opportunity and challenge,” says Lance Hansen, Bendix North America Regional Vice President – Aftermarket Sales, Fleet, Service and Operations. “The future of our industry is in electric trucks – but it’s not going to happen overnight, and fleets need to count on safety systems that work consistently and uniformly, no matter what kind of vehicle their drivers are operating.”
The TransPower-driven Peterbilt can haul up to 80,000 lbs., releases zero emissions, and requires a 5- to 10-hour charge time. It will operate in the Los Angeles area.
“Werner continues to be a leader in transportation technology – especially when it comes to safety and sustainability,” says President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers. “We are excited about this opportunity for the company and look forward to learning and exploring more about alternative modes of power within the transportation industry.”
Building the Future from the Present
Equipping the Werner electric vehicle with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) meant that Bendix – the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies – first needed to install the foundational full-stability technology of the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability system.
“Stability and collision mitigation systems communicate with the vehicle for things like deceleration interventions,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions – Controls. “For example, we needed to make sure that the safety systems on Werner’s Peterbilt Model 579EV could interact as effectively with the electric engine as with the proven technologies on diesel engines. Once the full-stability system was in place and fully tested, we were able to equip the vehicle with Bendix® Wingman® Fusion™.”
Werner’s diesel trucks are spec’d with Wingman Fusion and Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes, and they’re supported by the back-office solution SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS. Fusion has come standard on the Peterbilt Model 579 since 2018.
Bendix Wingman Fusion creates a detailed and accurate data picture by gathering input through radar, video, and the vehicle’s braking system. Combining and cross-checking the information from these sensors, which are working together, enables Fusion to deliver enhanced rear-end collision mitigation and many other benefits – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel.
The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.
Fusion also helps drivers avoid some additional crash situations, including rollovers, loss-of-control, and sideswipe crashes, since it is built on the foundational technology of Bendix ESP.
Bendix ESP is an antilock braking system (ABS)-based stability technology that recognizes and assists with both rollover and vehicle under- and over-steer driving situations. ESP uses a series of sensors to continuously monitor vehicle parameters, including wheel speed, lateral acceleration, steering angle, brake pressure, and yaw rate. These sensors combine to measure driver intent and vehicle direction, helping to mitigate skids, slides, and loss of control – including rollovers – through interventions such as de-throttling the engine and selectively applying the brakes, typically reacting faster than a human can.
“Electric trucks are a revolution, but they also have to operate in real-world conditions with existing technologies,” Thomas says. “Our work with Werner on this project is a milestone, to be sure, but it’s also one more important building block for developing the technologies that will help protect electronic trucks and the drivers of the future as we shape tomorrow’s transportation – together.”
Bendix stresses that no advanced driver assistance technology can replace the need for safe and alert drivers practicing safe driving habits, supported by comprehensive, proactive driver training. Through its ever-growing portfolio of commercial vehicle technologies, Bendix delivers on safety, vehicle performance and efficiency, and unparalleled post-sales support – all areas critical to fleets’ success. By strengthening return on investment in the equipment and technologies that keep trucks and drivers safe and lower their total costs of vehicle ownership, Bendix aims to enhance the safety of everyone sharing North America’s roadways.