A senior executive at automotive electronics supplier Bosch says stability controls are a better safety feature than airbags.

A senior executive at automotive electronics supplier Bosch says stability controls are a better safety feature than airbags.

Airbags have become standard equipment on most cars (and optional on most models that do not offer the feature as standard) and words such as driver-, front passenger-, side- and curtain airbags have become part of the broader motoring public’s vocabulary.

However, head of automotive sales at Bosch Wolfgang Chur recently said that consumers over-valued the effectiveness of airbags because they were the most well-known and common active safety feature.

“ESP can save more lives than the airbag,” said Chur. Bosch expects huge growth in demand for electronic stability programme systems in the near future as consumers learn their value.

ESP, which utilises sensors and actuators from ABS and traction control systems, takes inputs from brake pressure, yaw rate and wheel speed sensors to determine traction at each corner. It then provides the optimum amount of stability and grip in extreme lateral movement situations.

ESP is installed on more than half of the new cars built in Germany, but only 20 per cent of new cars produced in France. In the US and Japan, the installation rate of ESP is still less than 10 per cent, Chur said.

But Chur believes that ESP’s value in preventing rollovers will promote rapid growth in the US, where there has been much controversy and growing consumer awareness about the propensity for SUVs to roll during accidents.

He said Bosch plans to increase production of ESP systems from three million units in 2002 to 3,6 million in 2003 to retain market leadership in the segment. Bosch launched ESP in 1995 and by the end of 2002 it had produced eight million units.

Original article from Car