Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The ESP Seems to Have ESP

I've seen this a lot more lately... not sure if the slightly cooler weather or if due to the latest software. Maybe 1-in-10 of my "spirited" starts from a stop have been resulting in the stability control light flashing and much less power available. Maybe another 1-in-20 of the less-spirited starts have also resulted in the same.

Almost always, though, it seems to happen at the line whenever a stop light turns green - where, perhaps, there might be some oil on the road. Also, it seems to happen more frequently during the start of my drive - when, perhaps, the tires are still cold and not as "sticky."

The conclusion that I'm drawing is this: the car is able to detect an imperceptible loss of traction and react within milliseconds - so sensitive and so quick that I was thinking there was a bug, since I could not perceive ANY traction issues that would warrant the ESP activating. To put that in perspective, a "blink of an eye" is about 150~200 milliseconds, by the way.

I'm not sure if I'm used to clunky and slow older types of control systems, but it's kind of weird. In a way, I want that physical feeling of a tiny bit of slip before the system activates (as a cue that it's happening); but on the other hand, it's nice to trust that the car is actually taking care of things for me - and doing it well. Just one more old habit to break, I suppose!

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