After the success of the ride-by-wire system implemented in many motorcycle already, motorcycle technology is moving toward electronically assisted – brake-by-wire – systems.
The brake-by-wire system, already present on airplanes as assisted mechanism to aid pilots to stop huge commercial aircraft, is already on the horizon for Brembo, the famous Italian brake manufacturer.
Let’s take a look at the steps that are involved in hybrid brake-by-wire technology:
- The vehicle operator presses the brakes.
- The master cylinders convert the brake movement to hydraulic pressure.
- The stroke sensor measures the movement to identify a “panic stop” condition.
- The pressure transducer provides the brake force desired.
- The Brake Control Unit (computer) detects the inputs, and then checks the wheel speed sensors to determine vehicle speed, and to determine if a wheel lockup requires the ABS algorithm.
- The Brake Control System then checks the yaw sensor, steering wheel angle, and state of charge of the traction battery.
- If the speed of the vehicle is above about 7mph, the vehicle traction motor generator is used as a generator to convert the kinetic energy to electric power, and stores the energy in the battery. This slows the vehicle.
- If the operator (rider) presses the brake pedal harder, the system will apply the hydraulic friction brakes to increase brake force.
- Once the vehicle speed drops below about 7mph, the hydraulic brake system will take over completely, as regenerative braking does not work effectively.
- If the yaw sensor detects vehicle yaw, the system will initiate vehicle stability algorithms and processes (VSC).
- If the wheel speed sensors detect wheel lock-up, the system will initiate anti-lock algorithm (ABS).
Brembo has been working on a new system especially for the upcoming arrival of hybrid motorcycles, in which weight and braking control will be crucial. An electric motor doesn’t provide the same engine braking power as a combustion engine.
Some of the current models of KTM and BMW (which both use Brembo) are already fitted with some advanced ABS systems, equipped with accelerometer and electronic gyroscope.
The braking sensor, called 9M and developed by the German manufacturer Bosh, provided motorcycles MSC (Motorcycle Stability Control) which reduced the chances of low sliding while turning.
This technology is almost already something of the past.
The days of having your foot or hand managing the force applied to the calipers will be gone soon. The new brake-by-wire system will eliminate (or at least reduce) the chances of mistakes of assessment while deciding how much pressure to apply on our pedal/lever. In the same way that ride-by-wire came into play on some of the newest motorcycles, the new electronically managed braking system will provide a better and quicker response – in this case to stopping.
The main reason why all this technology has been implemented in motorcycles is that computers are better than we are. They are faster, more precise and efficient.
Like the MSC system, the sensors will inhibit rear wheel to lift and front wheel skidding while delivering the right amount of braking power to stop the motorcycle in the quickest time possible.
A computerized controller will be introduced with the new system. This will analyze, in real time, the power applied to braking levers and will assess the best power/efficiency ratio to be delivered on the disks. This will also prevent accidental overload and overheating and it will assist in distributing the perfect amount of force between front and rear tyre.
Ultimately, electronic braking will be a fundamental part of the recharge of electric motors on motorcycles too.