Is Brake By Wire Coming To Your Car?
You may know brake by wire if you follow car racing such as Formula 1. Brake by wire works by sending a signal to the car’s computer to apply the brakes. It is up to the computer to decide how much brake pressure to apply to the brake callipers. This is different from a driver applying manual pressure to the cylinder that controls the brakes.
By wire technology is nothing new, in fact, you can already find steer by wire and throttle by wire technology. All of these cut the physical link and focus on sensors and actuators that work out the action and the desired effect you want to achieve. However, many people are wary of by wire technology as it may feel like you have less control of the vehicle and rely too much on the car’s electronics.
Is brake by wire better?
While Formula 1 has been using brake by wire for a number of years, only recently have carmakers been experimenting with its use in mainstream cars. Toyota is starting to implement the technology in some of their hybrid vehicles. Alfa Romeo is also developing their brake by wire technology in new models of the Stelvio and Giulia. However, what are the benefits and why are carmakers turning to this technology?
1. Brake boost
Brake by wire systems is very quick, meaning they will stop the car sooner. As well as a computer reacting faster than a person, many brake by wire systems use a brake booster. A brake booster works by building up pressure quickly. This pressure can then be deployed to the master cylinder as well as the pedal to simulate a braking pedal feel. A brake booster can give vehicles a 200-millisecond head start. For example, Alfa Romeo’s brake booster can go from zero to full braking lock in 100 milliseconds. Ideal for emergency braking.
2. Pedal feel
Different car manufacturers can customise their brake pedal to suit customers and driving style. For example, race mode for vehicles can provide a stiffer brake pedal to suit the style of driving. For cruising, the pedal can be much softer. When many cars have a performance mode, this customisation of the brake pedal can help to improve the driving experience.