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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.