By 2006, Bosch will have added a range of new features to ESP, which will be directly experienced by the driver.

ESP has already established itself as a proven safety system, with studies carried out by both DaimlerChrysler and Toyota demonstrating a significantly lower risk of accidents for cars with ESP. Bosch is now concentrating development work on building new functions into the system and on further reducing noise generated by the controls.

For example, the "Hill Hold Control" function is already being fitted in some vehicles. It prevents the vehicle from rolling back unintentionally on hill starts. Bosch expects it to be fitted as standard in many medium-sized and compact cars during the next few years.

Further development on ESP will add such functions as "Brake Disc Wiping" and "Electronic Brake Prefill". The former is useful in heavy rain. It brings the brake pads into light contact with the brake discs at regular intervals in order to remove the film of moisture. The latter reacts when the driver pulls his foot off the accelerator pedal suddenly. It places the brake pads immediately in contact with the discs in order to reduce the stopping distance if emergency braking is in fact undertaken. These functions are included in ESPlus, the upgraged version of ESP, which will probably go into mass production in 2005.

For executive and luxury cars, Bosch will offer the highest level of development of the new range of products - with extra functions such as "Soft Stop" and "Stop & Go". "Soft Stop" makes for completely smooth stopping by automatically reducing the braking pressure just before the vehicle comes to a halt.

"Stop & Go" supplements automatic distance and speed regulation systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with convenient automatic braking until the vehicle is at rest, meaning a vehicle equipped with ACC can automatically slow down and accelerate again in stop start traffic.

Bosch expects the launch date for a new version of its Electrohydraulic Brake (EHB) - which is needed for these function - to be in 2006.

The coming years will also see enhanced systems reaching the market in which ESP is an important component. For example, the Active Steering system which has just started to be fitted as standard in the BMW 5-series cars improves handling in relation to driving speed on the one hand, whilst also permitting automatic steering correction to be carried out in coordination with ESP, thus stabilising the car more rapidly and comfortably in critical situations.