Could technology from an 18th century horse & buggy become the latest high-performance braking innovation? Back then, they used a wedge of wood to bring the wheel to a stop. Since then, we have been through several innovations in braking, with the latest being with multi-piston calipers, squeezing ceramic-carbon rotors with a multitude of brake pad formulations. According to Siemens, the future of braking technology is called EWB or Electronic Wedge Braking. Along with a claim that they have regularly experienced braking distances that are less than half of what's required by standard brakes, they also claim to utilize less than 10% of the energy needed by hydraulic brakes and weight substantially less than their conventional counterparts. What's more, the EWB will eliminate the need for brake lines, a servo-unit and a brake fluid reservoir, as it is entirely driven by 12-volts of electricity.

Here are a couple of other really cool features of the system. The faster the vehicle is traveling when the brakes are applied, the more powerful the brakes immediately become. The rotor momentum draws the pad further up the series of interlocking wedges applying progressively more pressure and increasing efficiency. Each wheel can also be electronically modulated to allow for much more precise anti-lock and stability processes as well as eliminating the pulsating pedal associated with the current ABS systems.

When will the EWB system hit the road? Possibly as early as 2008 on a Porsche, BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz.

[Source: AutoWeek]

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