Created to work on lighter framed cars, German electronics specialist Siemens has fabricated a new braking technology in the form of the electronic wedge brake. The company claims the new system can dramatically reduce stopping distances of vehicles compared with traditional hydraulic systems. Prior tries to improve the efficiency of braking systems have incorporated the use of carbon compounds and electronic activation of auxiliary brakes. However, the performance of these are said to be left in the brake dust in comparison of the new electronic wedge brake.
The technology reminisces back to the days of horse-drawn carriages, where a wooden wedge was used to slow the wheel. The modern version relies on interlocking triangular teeth that rest between the caliper and the disc, and is said to require only 10% of the energy that conventional brakes require. In fact, the entire system runs on the standard 12-volt electrical system that are found in most cars.
But the most intriguing feature of the entire technology is that the faster the car moves, the better the brakes work. A group of electric motors release pressure, while a torque sensor controls the braking force and keeps the wheels from locking up. During test runs, the wedge brake allowed cars to travel half the distance to come to a complete stop than cars fitted with standard brakes. The new braking system also demands less moving parts and weighs less than modern braking technology. Sources say the first German car with wedge brakes was originally planned for launch in 2008. With current brake and tire technology approaching its limits, new innovations such as wedge braking will fuel the next level of braking.
Here is a descriptive video explaining the new technology!