The commercial road transport industry is embracing technological change, specifically the development of ‘smart’ trailers. With access to more than 40 trailer functions that increase operational effectiveness as well as vehicle operator safety and comfort, WABCO has been mobilising vehicle intelligence with its Intelligent Trailer Program since its initial launch in 2010.
Back in 1981, WABCO, together with commercial vehicle manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz, launched the first Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) for trucks and buses – this innovation would be introduced to trailer builds two years later.
Fast-forward to 1997, WABCO harnessed Electronic Braking Systems (EBS) for trailer applications, and together with Controller Area Network (CAN), enabled braking via electronic signals to usher in a new era of progress: intelligent trailer systems.
This led to the launch of WABCO’s Intelligent Trailer Program in 2010: an award-winning suite of trailer technologies to help trailer builders, fleet operators and cargo owners to reduce transportation costs, save fuel and increase driver safety and comfort.
In principle, it works through various sensors connected via the CAN and the GIO (Generic In/Out) to the Trailer-EBS (TEBS). By intelligently processing the data they provide, TEBS determines whether the current vehicle dynamics is unsafe or inefficient and triggers countermeasures by actively warning the vehicle operator, and where possible, directing the actuation of brake and/or suspension controls to bring the vehicle back to the desired safe and efficient state.
Finally, TEBS stores these events and transmits them to the driver via displays and warning indicators, to the workshops via diagnostics interfaces and to fleet managers through telematics.
2018 and 2019 mark important milestones in the evolution of WABCO’s Intelligent Program offering and in particular the introduction of the iABS/iEBS Intelligent Braking Platform.
Announced at IAA 2018, this platform will take the integration of the program’s functions into trailers to the next step while also “ABS” enabling features only available on EBS equipped trailers up to now.
The following Intelligent Trailer Program function enhancements will also be soon available:
• a new strap-mounted sensor covering all wheel rim sizes for the OptiTire™ tire pressure monitoring system
• a new compact and high performance ultrasonic sensor for the TailGUARD™ rear blind spot detection and automatic braking system
• an iOS compatible version of the OptiLink™ smartphone app enabling drivers to monitor and control the trailer safety and efficiency functions
• a new version of the SmartBoard control pad which provides the driver access to key trailer information and allows to operate the EBS and air suspension functions. The new version provides amongst other things, an enhanced user interface and expanded compatibility with EBS and new generation ABS.
With recent introductions in China, Brazil and India, WABCO’s Intelligent Trailer Program is now available globally and is enabled by an installed base of over 9 million WABCO trailer EBS and ABS systems. The program features support a variety of trailing equipment including box trailers, curtain siders, tippers, tankers, container chassis and semi-trailers.
OptiLevel™ advanced suspension control
WABCO has pioneered Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS) applications for commercial vehicles since 1986. OptiLevel™ – WABCO’s trailer ECAS solution – provides the trailer height control features to the Intelligent Trailer Program. Leveraging a height sensor mounted to the vehicle body and connected to its axle via a lever system, OptiLevel™ enables automatic (or thanks to the eTASC handle) pneumatic suspension control (or manual control with eTASC) functions which significantly reduce both loading/unloading time and fuel consumption.