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Bendix Wingman Collision Mitigation Systems

Currently the most popular collision mitigation system on todays commercial trucks is made by Bendix. They make three different systems, depending on the needs of the truck owner. These are called Wingman ACB, Wingman Advanced, and Wingman Fusion. The Wingman system integrates camera, radar, and brakes into a total technology solution to help prevent accidents.

The chart below gives a comparison of the platforms.

bendix comp chart

The Wingman Fusion system is the most advanced platform, and it was released around late 2015. It takes technology from other Bendix products, such as the Electronic Stability Program, Wingman Advanced, and AutoVue Lane Departure Warning System. The Fusion system gathers inputs from radar, video, and the brake system to create a comprehensive safety system.

The Wingman Fusion system includes the following components:

  • Bendix ESP EC-80 Controller – Located in the cab of the vehicle, this is the “heart” of the system. This computer controls the ABS and full-stability control using a combination of vehicle speed, steering angle, yaw, and load sensors.
  • Bendix Wingman FLR21 Radar – Located in the front of the vehicle, you will find it located either on the bumper or just behind it. It has a range of roughly 500 feet.
  • Bendix Driver Interface Unit (or OEM dash display on some vehicles models) – This is the display that informs the driver of alerts and information on the system.
  • Bendix AutoVue FLC20 Camera – The camera is mounted near the top center of the windshield and supplies visual data. It works in conjunction with the radar system.
  • SafetyDirect Web Portal (Extra cost, more on this later) – The physical portion of this system is located near the FLC20 Camera.
  • Vehicle telematics system (If equipped) – Other 3rd party telematic devices can be integrated and work with the Bendix Wingman System.

 

The advantage that the Bendix Wingman system, particularly the Fusion system, is that it uses multiple technologies that compliment each other. By doing this, they can perform with a higher degree of accuracy than competitor’s technology.

Stationary Vehicle Braking (SVB)

For example, the Stationary Vehicle Braking (SVB) technology is possible because it uses both the radar and the camera data to look at the vehicles ahead of it. With the Fusion, this technology only works on speeds above 15 MPH. However, it can detect large objects that are stationary in a vehicle’s lane of travel, and positively identify it as a licensed motorized vehicle. This happens in milliseconds and notifies a driver up to 3.5 seconds before the impact would occur. If the driver does not act, such as braking or moving the steering wheel, the system can automatically engage the brakes to help assist the driver in avoiding a collision.

However, the system may not always be certain of the object. In this case, what if the stationary vehicle is at an angle so it looks different?  In those case, the system isn’t certain, but it will still give the driver up to 3.0 seconds of advanced notification of a potential collision, but it will not automatically apply the brakes.

Overspeed Alert & Action

This is a feature you will find on Bendix systems, but not on other ones such as WABCO’s OnGuard System. The Bendix Wingman Fusion will use its camera system to read most roadside speed limit signs. It will then compare the posted vehicle speed against the vehicle speed, and then provide alerts. As a vehicle owner, you can make some modifications on what you want to do here. For example, you can set the Level 1 alert to make an audible noise when a driver is 5 MPH over the speed limit. You can then set a Level 2 alert when the vehicle is 10 MPH over the posted speed limit and force the vehicle to give a 1-second dethrottle to gain the drivers attention.

Even furthermore, you can also subscribe to the Bendix SafetyDirect platform, which is a paid service. If you have this feature, it will send that information to a website dashboard where it is logged and can be reviewed my management.

Enhanced Collision Mitigation

At the core, everyone wants tools to help reduce collisions, and save lives. The Bendix Fusion system improves upon its previous iterations by being almost twice as fast. The system has become sophisticated enough to disable certain feature if it believes they aren’t functioning correctly. This helps reduce false alerts.

Often there are multiple events happening at once, such as a stationary object in the road AND the driver is crossing lanes. The software has been improved to prioritize alerts to the driver, along with giving them to the driver in order of importance.

Two more features of the Bendix Wingman Fusion system are the Following Distance Alerts (FDA) and Lane Departure Warnings (LDW). These functions do exactly as they are called, but they have been enhanced. For example, if the driver moves out of his vehicle lane with the blinker on, the system is quiet. If they forgot to turn the blinker on, they will be notified. Previous versions of Bendix didn’t have features such as this.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is an upgrade to a traditional cruise control system. The system will intervene as it senses objects in front of the vehicle, and automatically adjust the vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance. It does this in three stages. Stage one is reducing the engine throttle. Stage two is applying the engine brake, and the final stage is apply the vehicle braking system.

Bendix has also created some additional enhanced content around the ACC, such as brake overuse. When the cruise control is set, an alert is sounded to the driver when the Bendix Wingman system is using the brake excessively. Overusing vehicle air brakes can lead to overheating, and a loss of braking performance, yet another safety issue.

Bendix SafetyDirect

We touched on SafetyDirect briefly above. This is paid subscription service that sends information from your vehicle to a web portal. This allows you to see exactly what your drivers are doing, and when. Even better, you can do send commands back to the vehicle such as camera system modifications. You can learn more about this paid platform on the Bendix website.

Radar Alignments

The radar system does need to be maintained, and it is common to have to perform a calibration and/or alignment. If the sensor is not aligned or calibrated correctly, it could lead to false warnings, missing warnings, and create diagnostic fault codes. There are three types of alignments that we will discuss – Lateral Alignment, Dynamic Radar Alignment, and Vertical Alignment.

As with any advanced system, there are outside factors that can cause issues with your Bendix Wingman system. This includes mud, snow, and ice building up on the radar. Installation of aftermarket bumpers or snowplows could impair the operation of the system. If you have a front-end collision, even minor, it can also cause the system to not function.

The first step in proper radar adjustment is making sure the radar is mounted properly. The first thing to do is make sure the radar has proper vertical alignment. You can use a digital inclinometer for checking the vertical and lateral alignment. Below is a graphic that explains which adjusting screw you want to look at:

For the lateral adjustment, you are looking for a value between -1.5° and 1.5°. The following tables explains the adjustments you should make to correct alignments out of spec:

For the vertical alignment, you want to continue to use your digital inclinometer and have it at 0°, with a ±1.5° variance.

An alternative method to the digital inclinometer is to purchase the tools that Bendix recommends. These are Bendix part number K065284 and K096579, and also purchase the steel clip with part number K073087.

Once you have physically adjusted the radar to within specifications, the next step is to reset the alignment value. For this, you have several options:

On the newer systems with Bendix Wingman, you can actually skip all of this and do it from the display in the cab. Click through the menus and look for “Reset the Alignment Value”, which should look like a screen such as this:

You will want to select “Reset”, and then test drive. You can also run this command from the software options mentioned above. You now should drive at least 20 miles above 35 MPH. You will want to drive in multi-lane traffic, and then re-check the alignment values to make sure they are still within specifications when you return.

Learned Alignment Calibration Procedure

In rare cases, you may need to run the Dynamic Radar Alignment command. This is when the learned alignment value is not present, or when someone ran the “Reset Alignment Value” before actually physically adjusting the radar properly.

Once you’ve initiated the command, you are going to need an assistant to drive a vehicle in front of the commercial truck. You want to follow this vehicle on a straight, level length of highway at speeds greater than 35 MPH. You want to keep a distance between 50 and 300 feet from that lead vehicle and try to stay in the middle of you lanes as best as possible.

Summary

The Bendix Wingman Fusion system is a great collision avoidance system, maybe the best technology we’ve seen on commercial trucks so far. However, it does have limitations. For example:

  1. Only works with vehicles stationary or moving in the same direction as your vehicle
  2. Wingman will not help with pedestrians, animals, and non-metallic objects.
  3. Metallic objects that are radar reflective (crash barriers, guard rails, construction zone barricades, & tunnel entrances) will affect operation
  4. LDW works only above 37 MPH
  5. Wingman does NOT know the difference between MPH & KM unless you manually change the system
  6. It is not safe to use Bendix Wingman with cruise control on downhill grades.
  7. Bendix Wingman does not work fine in all driving conditions, such as around a curve/exit ramp, vehicles partially inside your lane, and vehicles making 90 degree turns.
  8. Bendix Wingman is not safe to use in construction zones
  9. Bendix Wingman isn't the best with smaller vehicles such as motorcycles and certain types of trailers
  10. Automatic foundation brakes only work when above 15 MPH
There are many more issues as well.
We recommend you download the manuals we have provided below to fully educate yourself on the system, its functions, and how it works.

 [PDF] Download the Bendix Wingman Owner's Manual

[PDF] Download the Bendix Wingman Service Manual

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Tyler Robertson

Tyler Robertson is the Founder, Owner, and President of www.DieselLaptops.com. Started in 2010, DieselLaptops.com has become the premiere source of diesel diagnostic equipment for commercial trucks, off-highway equipment, marine, motorcycle, automobile, agriculture, and more.

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