Hitachi Gets Smart on Brakes

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Source:  The following is excerpted from an extensive AutoBeat Daily post on the brake-by-wire system being developed by Hitachi.

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – Current brake-by-wire (BbW) systems are lighter, more efficient and better performing than conventional hydraulic units.

But they don’t go far enough, says Bernd Schemer, who heads Hitachi’s brake business unit. He notes that the technology, which replaces various mechanical components with electronic ones, still requires hydraulic actuation at the wheels.

Such systems have long been used in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Full Brake-by-Wire

Hitachi, through its acquisition of Chassis Brakes International late last year, is one of the few companies developing a full BbW system that doesn’t use any fluids, Schemer says.

Related post:
Hitachi Automotive Intros New Auto Parking Brake

The technology, which the supplier calls Smart Brake, would require a centralized vehicle architecture that integrates braking, steering and suspension actuation to enhance reliability if there is a failure of one of the systems. BbW also controls the brakes at each wheel separately to provide further redundancy.

The shift is being driven by autonomous, connected and electrified vehicle systems that require more sophisticated and expensive controllers. Without a centralized electronics structure, Schemer says, next-generation vehicles could soon be overloaded with individual ECUs and wiring.

“If you doubled the functions at each of these systems (braking, steering and suspension), it would get crazy expensive,” Schemer asserts. “There needs to be a more intelligent solution. Smart actuators are more efficient and cost effective,” he adds, noting that key information can be shared between systems to boost overall performance.

Drying Up Problems

In addition to performance benefits, full BbW systems promise to be easier to manufacture—thanks to fewer components—and are better for the environment because they eliminate harmful hydraulic brake fluid.

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Such systems also require less maintenance.

Brakes are one of the primary maintenance points of a vehicle, Schemer says. And for EVs, he points out, it’s one of the only systems that still requires maintenance.

The entire post can be viewed by clicking HERE.

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