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News | The Bosch technology that saves lives

A prize for the electronic stability program

The Premier Prince Michael International Road Safety Award has gone to the electronic stability program (ESP), which Bosch took part in developing. This marks the first time that the prize has been awarded to a technology. The prize honors outstanding performance in the realm of road safety around the world. Until now, it has been awarded only to campaigns, organizations, and groups. Arun Srinivasan, the head of Mobility Solutions Bosch UK and chairman of RoadSafe, accepted the prize: “We are proud that Bosch is being recognized for its role in the development of ESP. This technology reflects our lasting commitment to developing driver assistance systems that save lives and reduce the number of accidents.”

Bosch global receives the 2017 Premier Award from the Prince Michael (second from the left).

Bosch and Daimler developed ESP in a joint venture in the early 1990s, and started series production in 1995. Today, the anti-skid technology is mandatory for all new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles around the world. Anton van Zanten, the former head of the Bosch research group that invented ESP, has already received the European Inventors’ Prize from the European Patent Office for his lifetime achievement.

The electronic guardian angel

With the ESP system, Bosch makes an important contribution to improved road safety. With the help of intelligent sensors, ESP assesses 25 times per second whether the car is moving in the direction that the driver is steering. If the figures deviate, the anti-skid system intervenes and reduces engine torque. Should this not be sufficient, it also decelerates each individual wheel and thus creates the counterforce needed to keep the vehicle safely in its lane. Especially on slippery roads, but also in curves that the vehicle has driven into too fast, ESP keeps vehicles safely on track and prevents skidding accidents, which are often serious. Since it was introduced, ESP technology has prevented an estimated 185,000 accidents, and has thus saved thousands of lives.

A stimulus for innovation

“All current collision prevention systems are based on ESP – the most important innovation since the safety belt was introduced,” said Prince Michael of Kent at the Premier Awards ceremony. Since it began series production, Bosch has made continuous improvements to the active safety system. New assistance systems make driving even safer and more comfortable with functions that automatically maintain the distance to vehicles ahead, park cars into small parking spots, and give drivers timely warnings in critical situations.

More information on the history of the electronic stability program can be found here.

News : Bosch invention saves lives

The electronic stability program (ESP) has been mandatory in newly registered vehicles since November 1



According to the findings of European Union studies, ESP saves lives. For this reason, it is now mandatory in Germany. Effective November 1, 2014, all new cars to roll off the assembly lines must be equipped with the standard anti-skid system. Mandatory ESP applies to all newly registered passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tons. Vehicles that are already registered and do not have ESP must be retrofitted within one year.



The legally required retrofitting aims to reduce the number of skidding accidents, which often occur in road traffic when drivers attempts evasive maneuvers on wet, dirty, or slippery roads. Forty percent of fatal road accidents are the result of skidding. To minimize the risk, Bosch developed and launched an automated anti-skidding system as early as 1995. Since then, ESP has prevented some 190,000 accidents across Europe, and saved more than 6,000 lives as a result. This makes ESP the most important vehicle safety system after the seatbelt – even ahead of the airbag.


With the help of intelligent sensors, ESP monitors whether the vehicle is headed in the same direction the driver is steering up to 25 times per second. If there is a deviation between the two values, the system first reduces engine torque before it slows down each wheel to prevent the vehicle from swerving. The ESP system is a further development of the anti-lock braking system, which Bosch developed in 1978. Not only does ESP help prevent skidding, it also serves as the basis for many driver assistance systems as well as automated driving.



“ESP is a unique success story that we aim to continue, also outside of Europe,” said Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. Until now, the company has produced more than 100 million ESP systems. According to independent studies, up to 80 percent of skidding accidents in road traffic could be prevented if all vehicles were equipped with the ESP system.