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Machine Design

Stability control keeps SUVs on the straight and narrow

Ordinary electronic stability-control systems control yaw or skidding only. But engineers at Ford Motor Co. married a new Roll Stability Control (RSC) system with a traction-control system for extra protection against rollovers.


In the RSC, a gyroscopic sensor determines roll angle and rate of the vehicle. This information, using proprietary algorithms in software, is processed with other sensor data from the vehicle. The data includes yaw rate as well as lateral and longitudinal accelerations that indicate roll stability about 150 times/sec. An unstable situation activates the RSC, reducing engine power and applying brakes to one or more wheels until the vehicle stabilizes.

The RSC made its debut on 2003 Volvo XC90s. It is now available on 2004 Lincoln Aviator and Navigator SUVs.

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