Q & A with Melanie White
What does SEMA Vehicle Dynamics mean for you as an LTAA member?
The SEMA Vehicle Dynamics Program encompasses all the performance aspects of the aftermarket and the ESC performance of aftermarket-modified vehicles. If your product affects vehicle acceleration, deceleration, or handling, you need to be able to objectively describe the improvement as well as be aware of the growing regulatory requirements that must be met. With the expanding interaction between vehicle systems and active electronic controls of the throttle, brakes, steering, and suspension, even aftermarket products for appearance (lowered suspension, low profile tires, etc.) or convenience (roof racks, etc.) may need to be evaluated for their compatibility with a vehicle’s active safety systems. Most importantly, the SEMA Vehicle Dynamics initiative provides access to industry standard tools, design guidelines, engineering practices and measurements for marketing performance improvements to an increasingly technically savvy consumer while also documenting due engineering diligence in the development of your products.
What is ESC? Why does it matter to you as an LTAA member?
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is an active control system that affects both vehicle performance and safety. By applying individual brakes and modulating engine torque, this system has been shown to significantly reduce vehicle accident rates and fatalities. With this trend repeatedly being documented worldwide, NHTSA established FMVSS 126, mandating ESC on all production vehicles with a GVW rating of 10,000 lbs or less by September, 2011. Further, it requires vehicles modified by the aftermarket to still meet the performance requirements of the regulation after September, 2012. This regulation provides an opportunity for aftermarket parts manufacturers to take advantage of a program which provides access to the engineering analysis necessary for demonstrating FMVSS No. 126 compatibility, a marketing message that can shared with the customer and OEM dealers.
When do aftermarket companies have to comply with ESC?
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued FMVSS 126, a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requiring all motor vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) or less to have an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system that complies with specific design, performance, and diagnostic requirements. OEMs must have ESC as standard equipment on all applicable vehicles as of September 1, 2011. Thanks to the efforts of SEMA’s Washington DC Office, the aftermarket was granted a one-year exemption. Specifically, “... vehicles built in two or more stages and altered vehicles … are permitted an additional one year for compliance (i.e., until Sept. 1, 2012)” [Federal Register April 6, 2007 – Part II 49CFR Parts 571 and 586 p. 6].
As part of our annual look at where automotive technology stands, we recently engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology, delving further into the four advanced vehicle technology megatrends: driving green, driving connected, driving safe and driving cool.
SEMA News: What are the latest advances in electronics, including entertainment, navigation and interactive car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure systems?
John Waraniak: Vehicle electrification, electronics integration and connected-vehicle technologies are... Read more