Many benefits, but improving feel is important
Giovanni Canavotto, executive director for braking systems at Brembo, believes brake-by-wire systems will become a "strong trend over the next decade", but still have some hurdles to overcome.
In an interview with Car and Driver Canavotto noted brake-by-wire systems "really give us and carmakers flexibility with tuning".
With a brake-by-wire system, the physical and mechanical link between the brake pedal and stoppers is broken. The brake pedal becomes just an interface through which the driver informs the car how much they want to slow the car down, the car then interprets that input, and activates the brakes.
Although 'throttle-by-wire' or electronic throttle systems are commonplace today, brake-by-wire has been limited to racing cars and, most recently, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Like driver-adjustable suspension and steering modes in many of today's cars, a brake-by-wire setup "can be tailored to the driver and create a soft or firm feel, shorter or longer pedal travel".
In addition to this, "electric signals are more manageable than hydraulic ones, and by-wire systems will simplify vehicle architectures".
Canavotto conceded today's systems "tend to display an on/off characteristic", meaning there will be need to be "a lot of work" on the control algorithms and feel.
Gazing into his crystal ball, Canavotto sees a "slow conversion", similar to the transition from drum to disc brakes.
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