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If you’re in the market for a new car, you know that there are lots of new safety and crash avoidance technologies out there. Many of these include new braking systems that can be hard to understand–and in some cases, use. These new braking systems help prevent collisions before and after they happen.

These new braking technologies can include everything from new brake-by-wire systems to automatic emergency braking systems and post-crash brake systems. In each case, these systems are designed to make driving safer for everyone on the road.

Most braking systems on the market rely on a mechanical connection between your brake pedal and the brakes on your car. That means that when you push the brake pedal down, hydraulic fluid in your brake lines is compressed (via the master cylinder) which presses the brake calipers onto the rotors and uses friction to slow you down. When you take your foot off the brake, the friction is reduced and you can roll forward and drive.

New braking technology improves upon this system by adding a variety of technologies to improve stopping distance, reaction time, and provide more control in a wide variety of road conditions. The result is that new braking systems help stop crashes and save lives.

What are new braking systems?

New braking systems are designed to make driving safer. There are a variety of types of modern braking systems on the market and available in cars today.

Some types include:

  • Brake-by-wire
  • Automatic-emergency-braking
  • Post-crash braking

What is brake-by-wire?

A brake-by-wire system uses electronics to control the brakes rather than relying on a physical connection to them. It is a technology that has been around since 1998 and got its start in hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius.

You may have first experienced brake-by-wire when applying a parking brake in a modern-day car.  Rather than pulling up on a handbrake that is physically attached to the car, you push a button, which in turn tells a computer to apply the brakes to hold the vehicle in place when parking.  While new braking systems still rely on the basic principle of friction to stop the wheels, the connection to the brakes is electronic rather than physical in a brake-by-wire system.

Braking by wire has also been used in F1 racing since 2014. Sensors and actuators in the system register the amount of pressure that a driver applies to the brakes. That signal is then translated to physical force via the master cylinder and hydraulic fluid in the brake lines. When the signal is triggered, the brakes are applied. In high-performance braking, the system has to be both extra sensitive and quick.

Race cars coming around the bend
Photo courtesy of Michael Elleray via Flickr under CC 2.0

That’s where the benefit of using a brake-by-wire system comes in.  The brakes can be applied faster to stop a car more quickly than traditional mechanical braking systems.

In addition to this benefit, brake-by-wire systems are one of the necessary components both for electric and hybrid vehicles and for self-driving vehicles. Hybrid and electric vehicles need more control over the braking systems because in many cases, they use the energy from braking to return energy to the battery pack or power accessories in the vehicle. Self-driving cars will have to be able to electronically apply the brakes in any situation without the input of a human driver.

What is automatic emergency braking?

Automatic emergency braking systems or AEB are systems that detect a potential impact and automatically apply the brakes to a vehicle, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The goal of these new braking systems is to lessen or avoid a potential crash.

These systems have been available on vehicles since 2006, and the systems just keep getting better. According to NHTSA, one-third of all police-related crashes were rear-end collisions. These systems in particular help people avoid these kinds of accidents, and, in some cases, help lessen the impact of a crash.

Manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have new braking technology that helps absorb the impact of a rear-end crash. Both manufacturers offer systems that apply the brakes when the vehicles detect a possible rear-end collision. This prevents your car from rolling into an intersection and helps absorb the impact of a rear end collision so that potential injuries are less likely to happen.

These systems, while advanced, however, aren’t perfect. A recent report by J.D. Power showed that as technology advances, some reliability has fallen off. Their latest survey showed that people are increasingly having problems with their advanced assistance systems, including their automatic braking systems.

Additionally, some of these new braking systems can be disabled by a driver, as they were when Uber was testing the self-driving car that hit and killed a pedestrian in New York. If the systems are turned off, they will not prevent a crash.

What is post-crash braking?

Post-crash braking systems apply brakes after a crash has occurred to prevent consecutive accidents.  According to a recent story by

In 2018, a company called ProBiomechanicals and Ford’s safety head, Henry Scott did a study on car crashes. They discovered that 20% of all collisions have more than one impact, and 5% are three impact crashes. They also found that the more impacts a crash has, the more severe the injuries. In the case of MICs, most insurance companies consider a second or third impact a separate incident from the initial crash if the follow-up collision is not considered to be directly related to the first one.

Car manufacturers are starting to roll out new braking systems that can help reduce the impact and severity of MICs. Most recently, Ford announced new post-collision braking technology that automatically applies moderate brake pressure when an initial crash is detected. It will be available on the 2019 Ford Edge.

What other new braking systems are available on cars today?

Disc brake rotors and pads
Photo courtesy of Kalvin Chan via Flickr under CC 2.0

Manufacturers use new braking systems for a wide variety of things on vehicles today. Some manufacturers use the braking system to help cars stay in their lane when using the lane-keeping assistance, while others utilize new braking systems to help with grip in slippery situations. Even others use new braking systems that brace the car against a pending impact.

There are also plenty of new braking technologies out there that also apply to the physical brake pads on a vehicle as well. The material that brakes are made of has to be incredibly temperature (both cold and heat), friction, and pressure tolerant. Recently, researchers at the University of British Columbia, Sharif University of Technology in Iran, and the University of Toronto discovered that mixing carbon fiber into polymer brake pad could help reduce the wear and tear on brake pads.

What types of new braking systems available on cars today?

There are tons of new braking systems that are available on cars today. The manufacturers at the cutting edge of this technology include Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Ford, and Hyundai. Manufacturers are continually innovating around new braking systems to help make people safer on the road.

Hyundai and their sister brand, Kia also offer a lot of  advanced safety systems on their vehicles including advanced airbag systems that can detect the direction and impact of a crash and deploy airbags to protect passengers better.

Hyundai/Kia also recently announced a new braking technology that they call “Flex Brake.” This brake system can adjust the braking power of the brake pedal. The company just announced that they developed a commercial ready system that could make an appearance in future Genesis models–particularly their upcoming SUV, the GV80.

Which vehicles have these new braking systems?

If you’re looking for new braking systems in a vehicle, it’s best to shop for 2019 model years or newer. Brands like Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia, Audi, Toyota, and Volvo have vehicles on the market today that already have these new braking technologies on current models.

One thing to keep in mind about vehicles with advanced new braking technology: having these systems on your new car doesn’t necessarily mean that your car insurance will be cheaper. A recent story over at NPR pointed out that because these technologies are very advanced and require lots of technology, they cost more to fix.

While choosing a car with these new braking systems can save you and your passengers, you might have to pay a higher insurance premium on them.

What to look for in new braking systems

When shopping for a new car, be sure that you look for vehicles that offer advanced safety features like these new braking systems. Most vehicles today include automatic emergency braking, but other advanced features like post-collision braking are only just beginning to show up on the market, and many come as added options that you need to choose when building your new vehicle.

When shopping for a new car, be sure that you opt for the safety package which often includes these high-tech new braking technologies that can help both prevent collisions and reduce the severity of them after a crash happens. These packages are usually not terribly expensive and come bundled with other advanced technology like automatic cruise control and lane-keeping assistance. While they will add to the cost of a vehicle, these added features are often worth it both for your comfort and safety.

By opting for these added new braking systems that both stop crashes and save lives, you ensure the safety of both your passengers and those on the roads around you.

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New Braking Systems: Stop Crashes, Save Lives
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New Braking Systems: Stop Crashes, Save Lives
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We cover the new braking systems that will be keeping you safe in the future, including brake-by-wire, automatic-emergency-braking, and post-crash braking.
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AutoGravity
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Abigail Bassett is an Emmy-winning journalist, video content producer, and manager who has covered a wide range of world-impacting events including everything from the invasion of Iraq to Katrina and the financial and housing collapse. She has covered premiere automotive and lifestyle launches and unveilings all over the world over the last 15 years. Abigail has also extensively covered personal finance for a variety of outlets and start-ups including CNN Business, Money Magazine, and LendingTree. She spent more than ten years as a Senior Producer at CNN in New York and was most recently the Senior Director of Photo, Video and Social Media at Edmunds. She currently lives and works as a freelance writer and content manager in Los Angeles. Her clips have appeared in top-tier publications including Autoweek Magazine, Forbes, Arstechnica, Motor Trend, TheDrive, Fast Company and Fortune. She is also a U.S. juror for the World Car Awards.

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