Four new vehicles, a Ford Focus sedan and a Ford Explorer, along with the Ford Fiesta, are being added to Day 3 class to give our students the opportunity to feel for themselves the differences between vehicles that are and aren’t equipped with ABS (anti-lock brake systems), traction control, and an electronic stability platform (ESP) (these platforms are called different things in different cars; i.e., dynamic stability control, Porsche stability management, etc). These systems all prevent skids and they all use the ABS control module, engine ECU computer, a yaw sensor and a steering angle sensor.
As anyone who has spent a week learning driving techniques at Team O’Neil knows, the vehicles that our students learn on are stripped of these systems, which are all designed to help the average driver avoid getting into a skid. As skid control is our specialty, we’ve removed these systems so that they don’t interfere with instruction. However, once most people leave our school, they do so in vehicles that include these systems. As such we think it’s important for students to understand how these systems can help them, what their limitations are, and how to adjust for those limitations, and we’re pleased to be able to offer an opportunity for students to experience a side-by-side comparison of how vehicles perform with and without these systems.
The Focus and Explorer were used as part of a project that Team O’Neil participated in to develop a loose surface tire model for driving simulation, as well as automated feedback training for driving simulators.