ESC and Towing




How Electronic Stability Control can help you retain control of your vehicle when towing

The sensation of sway when towing indicates a potential loss of control which is a concern for many drivers whether it’s a trailer or a boat in back.

Electronic Stability Control, also known as Electronic Stability Program,  DSC, VSC, DSTC, VSA, is a active vehicle safety system using several sensors to detect when a vehicle is deviating from the driver’s intended steering direction.

It monitors the car’s situation 25 times per second and as soon as impending loss of control is detected, brakes one wheel to cause a stabilising force on the car which keeps it under control.

This system works in the same way, regardless of whether the destabilisation is caused by a towing a trailer, boat, side wind, poor road surface or sudden driver action. A car with ESC is less likely to become unstable even when towing a heavy trailer or boat.

Advances in ESC technology mean that soon Robert Bosch Corporation’s trailer sway mitigation (TSM) technology will be available for application in combination with ESC. TSM prevents unstable oscillations and trailer sway through brake interventions on the towing vehicle.

A special algorithm detects trailer sway depending on the towing situation. To eliminate the dangerous motion, the vehicle’s brakes are precisely applied via active brake pressure control in a proprietary sequence, helping the driver control the vehicle/trailer combination even in critical situations. Trailer sway typically occurs when a vehicle’s speed exceeds the trailer’s critical velocity. Additional causes of trailer sway are wind generated from weather and passing vehicles, as well as steering motions made by the driver. TSM utilizes existing ESC system components, which makes it cost effective for automakers to adopt.

“TSM expands on the functions of ESC to provide additional benefits to drivers,” said Scott Dahl, director, advanced technology and marketing, Robert Bosch Corporation. “We expect ESC to be an enabler for other safety technology in the future.”

After reviewing European vehicle/trailer accident statistics in 2002, ADAC (German Automobile Club) predicted that demand for Bosch’s TSM technology would increase based on its exceptional performance and control. As the popularity of towing recreational vehicles grows among the general public in Australia, TSM will help provide drivers with more control of the vehicle/trailer combination, enabling safer travel.

As with ESC, Bosch’s TSM technology functions instantaneously and independently of the driver’s action.