Meritor announces alliance, new products

MeritorWABCO announced Feb. 16 it has established an alliance with Takata, and will market and distribute Takata’s vehicle sensor system in North America.

The system includes the SafeTraK lane departure warning system, Driver Alertness Warning and vision-based Forward Collision Warning, as well as a web-based driver and vehicle reporting tool for the commercial vehicle market.

Mark Melletat, Meritor’s director of trailer systems/field operations, said the system is compact and easily retrofit, often fitting via a bracket onto the truck’s windshield. The lane departure warning function activates when the driver changes from one lane to the other without signaling. The Driver Alertness Warning consists of software capable of interpreting the vehicle’s movement relative to lane markings when the driver is not alert or is distracted.

Melletat said the system will be available in July and will bear the MeritorWABCO name, although the company credits Takata for its development and manufacture.

Meritor also introduced RSS 1M, a trailer “Stability Support“ rollover prevention system compatible with trailers equipped with single modulator-type ABS systems. The company estimates each rollover costs from $85,000 to $250,000, and result not only from excessive speed on ramps and inattention, but also from swerving to avoid hitting another vehicle. These are the most deadly crashes for commercial drivers, the company said.

Melletat said the system is “versatile and retrofittable,” as it builds on anti-lock braking systems and works on either air or spring-type suspensions. He explained the system first calculates vehicle mass via either air spring pressure or steel spring deflection depending on the trailer’s suspension system. It determines the rollover threshold, and then measures lateral force with a sensor, comparing it with that threshold.

The system uses the ABS wheel sensors to determine when the wheels on one side over-react, or slow considerably more than the brake apply pressure indicates is appropriate. At this point, it applies the brakes to slow the vehicle and prevent a rollover. Adding this system, compatible with single-modulator ABS and steel springs, to tractor RSS means an “increased safety margin.”

The company also described its System Saver 1200 Plus air dryer, which can eliminate the brake system’s air tank to save weight and cost. It can reduce fuel usage by as much as 2 percent by regenerating when engine power demand is low. The dryer also indicates to the driver when its service cartridge needs to be replaced.