Brake-by-wire to go mainstream, says Brembo


2016 Chevrolet Camaro's Brembo brakes

2016 Chevrolet Camaro's Brembo brakes

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Braking systems have changed considerably over decades, but high-performance brake manufacturer Brembo thinks another big change is coming.

Brembo’s executive director for braking systems, Giovanni Canavotto, told Car and Driver in an interview published Monday that brake-by-wire systems will become a "strong trend" over the next decade. Thus, Canavotto believes hydraulic braking systems will soon go the way of drum brakes.

The executive explained that future brake-by-wire systems will allow for more precise tuning for a variety of attributes. "They can be tailored to the driver and create a soft or firm feel, shorter or longer pedal travel, much like the driving modes for the suspension and steering right now," he said.

Canavotto noted such systems have been used in Formula One for years and provide vast flexibility. Right now, though, the systems can create a vague pedal feel compared to a hydraulic system. "We will need to work on the algorithms, as electric systems tend to display an on/off characteristic. There will be a lot of work on the feel. But there are great advantages: Electric signals are more manageable than hydraulic ones, and by-wire systems will simplify vehicle architectures," he explained.

Right now, the Infiniti Q50/Q60 and Alfa Romeo Guilia and Stelvio are among a handful of vehicles with brake-by-wire systems. Journalists have complained about a wooden pedal feel in these vehicles.

As the new technology takes hold, Canavotto foresees plenty of redundancies to ensure a driver's safety. After all, brakes are a critical safety system in any car.

The brakes may not look all that different either, Canavotto added. "It is simply the question of adding a mechatronic system invisibly," he said.

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