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Old 06-13-2006, 01:16 PM   #1
Necromancer
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Default Let's talk about yaw control (aka stability control, VDC, ESC, etc.)

Ok what do you guys think about active yaw control or stability control (on Subarus, it's called VDC) -- as a recommendation for the general driving public? There have been a few brief debates on this topic in the past, but now it's on the front page of my hometown newspaper.

I concede the following points:
  • The writer of that article, Michael Taylor, is generally a fat old schmuck.
  • An STi buyer should know how to handle his/her car regardless of VDC.
  • We're talking about a system that tries to minimize the slip angle, not a performance-oriented yaw control like the Evo's.
  • As such, it's obviously less fun for drifting.

But my question is: Should VDC be considered a basic safety feature? Or is it just another costly way to protect idiots (like airbags, for example) that has no place being forced on all car buyers?
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:29 PM   #2
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Its an idiot-feature, so that soccer moms on their cell phones while applying makeup driving through a snow storm at 65 mph don't fall victim to Darwinism.
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Old 06-13-2006, 01:50 PM   #3
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I'd say maybe 90% of the whole entire car buying public buys a car with the intent of just driving it to work or school or whatever. If they see it has some kind of safety system built into it that prevents them from running over the Pope or whatever, then it's probably a good thing for them.

I wish my WRX didn't have ABS or airbags.
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grzydj
I wish my WRX didn't have ABS or airbags.
1) Remove Airbag fuse
2) Remove ABS fuse
3) ?????
4) Problem solved. Profit!
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grzydj

I wish my WRX didn't have ABS or airbags.
So I was watching something on tv about airbags one time.... and it turns out that they have to make the airbags come out quicker if your not wearing a seatbelt than if you are. Makes sense, but of course they are always going to set it for the moron not wearing his seatbelt. This upsets me greatly, because I have to deal with more face breaking action for no good reason.
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samirr76
1) Remove Airbag fuse
2) Remove ABS fuse
3) ?????
4) Problem solved. Profit!
The problem with this line of thinking is that you've already paid the cost ($$, weight, maintenance, etc.) of the airbags and ABS. Disabling them after the fact is fine if you're really hardcore, but the question is whether they should be there in the first place. Both add some marginal safety value but, in the case of airbags at least, the cost was only really justified 30 years ago when hardly anybody wore their seatbelt...

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. What about the benefits of VDC?

Most of us, even the best trained track and rally drivers, have overcorrected at one time or another...
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:12 PM   #7
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Necromancer,

Very good point. I agree with you completely. Unfortunately, airbags are required by law and manufacturers cant delete them even if thats what customers want. Soon, the same will be true of ABS and stability control, etc.

However, my udnerstanding is that airbags work best in combination with seatbelts. If you dont stay in the proper position in an accident, the airbags will not protect you.
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:12 PM   #8
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Think it is a great feature, wish my LGT had it in fact.
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:17 PM   #9
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In the end, I think I would like to have the features, but always have th eability to override them if I want to have some fun or go racing.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:19 PM   #10
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My experience:

This last winter my friend with a Golf GTI 25th anniversary edition gave me a ride on one particularly bad snow day. The road was completely convered in a mixture of fresh and compacted snow. We both run Blizzak snow tires winter round. He showed me how he could swerve the steering wheel left and right violently from side to side and how the car only turned slightly from side to side when he did that. On any Subaru, a hard left/right maneuver like that would result in immediately spin out. I have personally spun my car out on 3 separate occasions doing exactly that at 2 autocrosses and an ice race. He also showed me how he could take a slick corner at excessive speeds and how the car went into a perfect 4 wheel slide, always pointing where the steering wheel was pointed, never understeering or oversteering.

He also pointed out that the car is faster at autocrosses with the system OFF. Although I know a few corvette owners who do their fastest runs with yaw control and traction control on.

Having seen what the system can do, I would say that I really wish it was available on our cars, as a selectable option. Much like Ferrari does. The Enzo has 5 levels of traction/stability control... Take that all of you who say its for people who can't drive ...

Oh, and for the guy who said he wishes he had no ABS and no airbags: Why don't you take them off and then find out first hand why they were installed in your car when some idiot pulls out in front of your car and you hit him doing 60MPH+. Good driving does not always protect you from other people's bad driving.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:26 PM   #11
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Stability control or whatever the manufacturer wants to call it is a BIG plus for high center-of-gravity vehicles. Keeps them from getting into situations where they are likely to roll. And it's even pretty nice for general purpose cars - my wife's 325i has it, and she's seen it work in icy conditions to help her turn. But I'm not convinced it works right for AWD cars where one way out of a problem is to mash the accelerator and pull yourself through the turn - most stability control systems will limit power and try to selectively brake around the slip.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Necromancer
But my question is: Should VDC be considered a basic safety feature? Or is it just another costly way to protect idiots (like airbags, for example) that has no place being forced on all car buyers?
Hey Necromancer,

Isn't that what Dr. Orpheus is on the Venture Brothers? Anyhoo, yes, I believe it should be considered as a safety feature, but only on vehicles that can really use it like SUVs, big trucks, etc. I really don't see the need for VDC on cars like the Impreza. You've got to be doing something very wrong to flip a car on dry pavement. Or am I totally wrong?

If an SUV is clipping along at say 70 mph in the left lane on the highway, and driver from the right lane suddenly cuts that person off forcing them completely onto the shoulder of the road. Say the SUV driver then tries to get back onto the pavement and over steers the vehicle on the slippy gravel shoulder, the the front tires make a good initial purchase on the pavement. Because all this happend within about a second, not much speed has been lost, so we'll say the vehicle is traveling at 65 mph. Is VDC going to be able to prevent that Tahoe or whatever from barrel-rolling down the highway? I think there will be situation that VDC won't be able to correct/prevent. Of course, I'm just an inside salesperson for pre-hospital medical gear, so what do I know?

The above example actually happened recently in Michigan, and the incident was captured on the dash cam of a state patrol car (I think). the SUV driver survived with minor injuries. the guy who swerved into her lane had not been found, last I heard.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:04 PM   #13
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^^^^ VDC does NOT prevent or reduce the risk of a rollover, it only reduces the chance of going into an uncontrolled skid.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:12 PM   #14
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AWD does not need traction control (in most situations) but stability control would be nice. I also love "OFF" button to shut down system completly.
It seems that Subaru is just doing it with 2007, adding VDC to more models, at least Legacy models.

Krzys
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:38 PM   #15
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As long as I can turn it off when I'm autocrossing, I'm all for it. Too many boneheads with WRXs forget that the additional traction from AWD just gets you into trouble faster.

What I don't like are the nannys that have invaded our legal system and made their nanny devices mandatory. Options are good.. mandates are bad. For instance: Subarus- optional.. Taxes- mandate.
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Old 06-13-2006, 06:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samirr76
^^^^ VDC does NOT prevent or reduce the risk of a rollover, it only reduces the chance of going into an uncontrolled skid.
So it's like anti-lock brakes that have a mind of their own when the vehicle is sensed to be at angle X when traveling at speed Y?
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Old 06-13-2006, 08:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikeeba
So it's like anti-lock brakes that have a mind of their own when the vehicle is sensed to be at angle X when traveling at speed Y?
Yes, that's exactly what they are.

Let's think of it this way: the chance of uncontrolled oversteer is not really affected by whether it's an SUV or Impreza (it's more determined by suspension settings and the general stupidity of the driver) -- however, once you are IN the spin, if you clip a rut you are much more likely to roll over if you have a high centre of gravity. Therefore, a spin is more dangerous for an SUV.

Back to krzyss' point, I'd argue that a *well designed* skid control system is a good thing for AWD cars. With the power on, braking on individual wheels can simulate the effect of three programmable LSDs (front, centre, and rear) -- albeit somewhat inefficiently in terms of energy.

Imagine you're turning left with the power on in an AWD car. Braking the inner (left) wheels and forcing a speed difference between the inner and outer wheels can help propel the car around the corner faster. Add some more intelligence and you can selectively brake the rear or front to give the car more rapid turn-in, for instance. That's my understanding of how the yaw control works on the WRC and Evo...
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Old 06-13-2006, 08:37 PM   #18
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they mite as well make cars that can only go 30 mph with 80hp... that'll keep almost everyone safe.

all these new features are nice.. but they impact driving wayyyy to much. its almost as if the car could drive itself with some of these technologies.. im not against them, but they should remain optional with a way to disengage them as desired. with a switch in the glove box or something.
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Old 06-14-2006, 09:28 AM   #19
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I find this thread intersting. Mainly because I really haven't thought too much about the topic, and it seems like it (VDC) may be a feature on the next car I purchase, whether I like it or not.

Where a VDC system utilizing individual brake control to maintain stability, I would much rather see a less invasive (and probably less effective, but we're talking cars, not trucks) damper-based (strut-based) stability control system on our cars. The Impreza and Legacy both have a lower center of gravity, thus I don't see the need for the same stability control system that would be used for a large SUV. Plus, I feel a damper-based system would compliment 'spirited' driving more than a brake-based system. I think both systems would be equally expensive and complicated, but I imagine a system that is damper-based system would case less wear and tear to components.

I may be dating myself here, but think back to a time in F1 when teams had programable suspension. They Were basically able to tune their cars to each individual turn on a circuit. I'm not surprised that technology didn't last long in F1, as it worked incredibly well, and the cars were quite quick around the courses. That's the sort of stability control I would like to see in our cars. And most cars, I guess.

Hmmm... Perhaps I'll dig out all my Gran Turismo games, and play with the cars that have the Active Yaw Control option...
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Old 06-14-2006, 09:49 AM   #20
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I think too many people over estimate their own driving ability, thinking they have no use for stability control. If you are a decent driver, you can handle a car without intervention when you know what to expect. It is situations where the unexpected happens in a split-second, like an 18 wheeler coming over into your lane forcing you into on-coming traffic or hitting a nice patch of black ice. Even if you were the best driver in the world, you can't individually brake one wheel.

As far as airbags being powerful for unbelted occupants - that was true in the 90's. Today's airbags are way more advanced and have their own ECU that looks at whether the occupant is belted in or not, their weight, distance to the air bag, and severity of the collision to determine the proper inflation. So, disabling your air bags in this case would be a dumb idea.
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tea cups
I think too many people over estimate their own driving ability, thinking they have no use for stability control. If you are a decent driver, you can handle a car without intervention when you know what to expect. It is situations where the unexpected happens in a split-second, like an 18 wheeler coming over into your lane forcing you into on-coming traffic or hitting a nice patch of black ice. Even if you were the best driver in the world, you can't individually brake one wheel.
I concur. All vehicles over 150HP and weighing more than 2400 lbs should be equipped with a VDC.

Lots of studies of aircraft control systems (especially for Airbus aircraft) have shown over and over that pilots having to make maximum performance manuevers without built-in electronic limits do one of two things:

1. They don't actually perform a maximum performance manuever (even though they *think* they are) because they sense that the limits of the aircraft are closer than they really are and they are afraid of damaging the aircraft.

2. They over-input and lose control of the aircraft.

With a well designed and implemented VDC, when that 18-wheeler changes lanes on you suddenly, all you need do is yank the wheel hard over, knowing the VDC is going to give you maximum turn rate without going over the limit and losing control.

I think the problem most people here have with a VDC is whether or not they can override it. It becomes a matter of soft-limits versus hard-limits. Same arguement between Boeing and Airbus.

Airbus argues that the pilots should be protected from damaging the aircraft and the control system is designed to prevent them doing so even if they wanted to. These are hard limits.

Boeing argues that the pilots *should* be able to break the airplane if they want to, but that there should be buzzers and warnings and sirens going off to let the pilot know he's about to do so. This would be soft limits.

Same with the VDC....either let the driver be able to turn it off when he/she wants to, or put in soft limits so the driver can push through the VDC after it activates.

-Michael

Last edited by f4phantomii; 06-15-2006 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 06-14-2006, 11:06 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f4phantomii
Airbus argues that the pilots should be protected from damaging the aircraft and the control system is designed to prevent them doing so even if they wanted to. These are hard limits.

Boeing argues that the pilots *should* be able to break the airplane if they want to, but that there should be buzzers and warnings and sirens going off to let the pilot know he's about to do so. This would be soft limits.

Same with the VDC....either let the driver be able to turn it off when he/she wants to, or put in soft limits so the driver can push through the VDC after it activates.

-Michael
I love your analogy. I think you meant to say "over 2400lbs" for the vehicles though.

Like it or not we will all have stability control in the future. And cars will handle better as a result of it. And we will be able to switch it off if we want to. Its called "progress". No one liked electronic fuel injection when it came out either
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:40 PM   #23
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this thread makes me wanna pour soysauce on myself and join the army!
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:53 PM   #24
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I recall the new Prodrive Subaru based supercar has a similar system too.
(search for TopGear video)
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:33 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licwyd7755
So I was watching something on tv about airbags one time.... and it turns out that they have to make the airbags come out quicker if your not wearing a seatbelt than if you are. Makes sense, but of course they are always going to set it for the moron not wearing his seatbelt. This upsets me greatly, because I have to deal with more face breaking action for no good reason.
just dont crash?
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