Delphi Corp. demonstrates the potential of its Unified Chassis Control at its winter testing facility at the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base near Marquette, MI. ABS is not new, nor is stability management, traction control, electric power steering or Dynamic Body Control, but they're good technologies made even better when combined. With sophisticated algorithms, two or more of these systems can react quickly to make corrections even before a driver can detect loss of stability.
The safety benefits are tremendous: less propensity to roll over, reduced head toss, crisper turning, reduced driver stress and fatigue and stopping distances reduced by up to 20%. Delphi is not the first supplier to talk about this holistic approach to chassis control. Continental AG, which produces both tires and brake systems, made a similar pitch to the industry more than a year ago with its heralded “30-meter car” concept.
Delphi rolls out 14 mostly modified production models for journalists to test, including a Ford F-150 and Chevy Suburban equipped with both Traxxar stability management braking and Quadrasteer 4-wheel steering. On a slick, snow-covered handling course and on a split surface (two wheels on ice, two on pavement), the technologies working in tandem provided a surprising level of stability in both vehicles.
Instead of the brake system being solely responsible for bringing a skidding vehicle under control, the rear-steering system can do most of the work in providing stability by counteracting oversteer.
Also included in the driving event was a Chevy Tahoe equipped with Dynamic Body Control, which performed admirably when crossing two deep tire tracks on a 45-degree angle. Normally, head and torso would pitch severely over such terrain. But DBC counteracts such forces with front and rear stabilizer bars that are adjusted to reduce vehicle roll.