Hill Start Assist Technology - What Is It, Components and Benefits
Driving your car uphill is tricky, especially if the roads are extremely steep. Moreover, if a driver is a beginner, it becomes even more challenging as one has to keep holding the brakes while quickly moving his/her foot onto the accelerator. This is where a hill start assist system comes in use.
It ensures the safety of everyone in the car and makes the driver’s job easier. Read on to know about the components, benefits and working of this system in vehicles.
What Is the Hill Start Assist Technology?
Hill start assist is an excellent feature available in most modern vehicles. It prevents a car from rolling backwards when a driver presses and releases brakes while driving uphill. Drivers generally tend to release brake pressure when making their vehicles go uphill, which is when cars roll back.
How Does the Hill Start Assist System Work?
A hill assist system prevents a vehicle from rolling back on an inclination. It holds a car’s brakes while the driver switches between the brake and acceleration pedals. This technology has a sensor attached to a vehicle that can detect when it is in an inclined position.
This system maintains brake pressure for some time when the driver switches the brakes. Once a driver presses the accelerator, it releases the brakes. As a result, it protects the driver from going downhill while driving uphill.
These days, all sorts of vehicles come with hill assist technology. For people living in hilly regions, it is an essential feature to have.
What Are the Components of Hill Start Assist?
A hill start assists control system consists of various sensors, an electronic control unit (ECU) and a brake actuator which the ECU controls. This is done so that the ECU can apply brakes whenever your car needs roll backwards down a slope. Here are the different components of the hill start assist system:
- Electronic Control Unit (ECU) - It is the vehicle's computer system, and its job is to receive signals from various sensors set on the various parts of the vehicle. ECU then acts upon the signals that it receives from these sensors. This system can understand and calculate the vehicle's weight, distance, speeds, resistance and hill slope. These calculations enable the ECU to compute the engine torque, brake and acceleration that this vehicle requires while going uphill.
- Brake Actuator- This actuator device receives signals from the ECU to keep the brakes engaged when a vehicle is going uphill. As it receives signals from a vehicle's ECU, it activates the vehicle's brake valves and keeps the vehicle's brakes engaged. In addition, the hill assist system also uses an electric motor to stop power and prevent a car from rolling backwards.
- Angle Sensors- This alerts a vehicle's ECU if it is on an incline. It also alerts it on the amount of slope angle.
- Torque Sensors- Torque refers to a rotational force which comes from a vehicle's engine that accelerates the vehicle to a complete stop. This component senses if the drivetrain is sending sufficient torque to the wheels to accelerate the car.
- Pressure Sensors- These sensors are a part of a car's suspension system. It detects a car's weight, including the cargo and passengers inside the car. Piezoelectric sensors or strain gauges also perform the same function. These sensors produce electrical signals proportional to a car's weight.
- Wheel-Speed Sensors- One can find these detectors on a vehicle's axles; their job is to determine the speed and direction in which the wheels turn.
What Are the Benefits of Hill Start?
The various benefits of a hill assist control system are as follows:
- It makes driving easier for an individual when he or she is driving in tricky scenarios like driving uphill on a steep slope. Moreover, it creates a safe driving environment for beginner drivers learning to drive on a manual transmission.
- This system reduces the wear and tear in various vehicle components. These components include brakes, handbrakes and clutch plates. When a driver's assistance system is flawless, there will be no extra load on certain car parts, and as a result, it will avoid the wear and tear on the above-stated car parts.
- As this system prevents a vehicle from slipping backwards while going uphill, it eventually ends up saving the vehicle just behind and preventing a collision.
The biggest advantage of having a hill start assist control system on your vehicle is that it will prevent you from potential accidents while driving in hilly regions. This technology was introduced in the market in 1936, but it became popular around 2005 when major car brands started adopting it. Today, it is an essential driver's assistance system you must look for while purchasing a new car.