Electric Stability Program Now Mandatory In EU

As of this coming Saturday, Nov. 1, every vehicle sold in the European Union will come standard with electronic stability program, also known as ESP.

All newly registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 3.5 tons must be equipped with the anti-skid system according to this new rule. The regulation will take effect for all other vehicles one year later.

This European ruling mirrors the one found in North America. Since September 2011, ESP has been mandated for all vehicles in the United States and Canada with a gross vehicle weight up to 4.5 metric tons. Australia and Israel have also made ESP mandatory. Similar regulations will take effect in Japan, Korea, Russia, and Turkey in the years ahead.

It is important to note technologies like ESP are at the basis and are relied upon by upcoming autonomous vehicles.

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According to Bosch – which stands to profit from the rule – in 2011, ESP prevented more than 33,000 accidents involving injury and saved more than 1,000 lives in the EU member states (of which there were 25 at the time), even though ESP was only installed in an estimated 40 percent of vehicles. Since being launched in 1995, it’s estimated ESP has prevented 190,000 accidents and saved more than 6,000 lives across Europe.

After the seat belt, ESP is the most important vehicle safety system, considered according to Bosch as even more important than the airbag.

Bosch is a manufacturer of the system and has manufactured 100 million ESP systems since series production began in 1995. While 84 percent of all new vehicles in Europe were equipped with the anti-skid system in 2014, the figure for all new vehicles worldwide was only 59 percent.

“ESP is an unparalleled success story that we hope to replicate outside Europe as well,” said Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. “According to independent studies, up to 80 percent of skidding accidents on the road could be prevented if all vehicles were equipped with the anti-skid system.”

How does ESP work?

Bosch explained how ESP functions the following way: using sensors 25 times per second, ESP compares whether the car is actually moving in the direction in which the driver is steering it. If the measured values do not match, the anti-skid system intervenes and first reduces engine torque. If that is not sufficient, it additionally brakes individual wheels, generating the counterforce needed to keep a vehicle on course.

ESP is the logical next step in the further development of the ABS antilock braking system created by Bosch in 1978. Today, ESP is much more than a mere anti-skid system, added Bosch. A number of value-added functions now account for most of its performance, including the ability of ESP to prevent a vehicle from rolling backwards during hill starts. It is also able to stabilize swerving trailers and to reduce the rollover risk of sports utility and light commercial vehicles.

The electronic stability program also plays a key role when it comes to many driver assistance systems and automated driving, which is why its development is ongoing.

Bosch said it offers ESP as a modular concept that offers the right system for all circumstances and requirements, which ranges from the affordable ESP light for entry-level cars in emerging markets and special systems for commercial vehicles all the way to ESP hev regenerative braking systems for hybrid and electric vehicles.