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The increase in awareness regarding safety norms has boosted growth in vehicle braking system technologies in the country. While the Government has made anti-lock braking system (ABS) compulsory in 2-wheelers above 125cc, India is working to make Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) mandatory in cars by 2022-23 timeframe. With the rise in electric content in cars, demand for electric parking brake (EPB), which is currently more common in luxury cars, is likely to go up. Meanwhile, OEMs are also looking out for lighter and high-performance boosters and calipers that help in reducing vehicle drag on brake. In this interview, Thomas Laudes (Head – Hydraulic Brake Systems business unit) and Krishan Kohli (Head - Vehicle Dynamics business unit) of Continental India highlight some of the interesting trends in braking systems and how Continental is helping automakers to raise the safety features of their vehicles.
Why are electronic braking systems so important for a vehicle’s (and its occupants) safety today?
Krishan Kohli (KK): While India contends for a spot amongst the top global producers of passenger cars, we need to commit to better planning, policy implementation and technology adoption to bring down road fatalities. In developed countries, advanced driver assistance systems like electronic stability control (ESC), autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, and other networked safety functions, have made a marked difference in reducing accidents.
The advantages of electronically controlled braking are obvious: the shortest possible braking distance, as well as stability. Our electronic brake systems are one of the most progressive in the world. Additionally, ESC is critical to enable highly automated driving processes, which is the future.
Thomas Laudes (TL): I want to touch upon Continental’s vehicle safety core competencies “SensePlanAct”. Our product portfolio comprises integrated active and passive safety technologies that save lives – plus products for enhanced vehicle dynamics. “SensePlanAct” defines the three stages in the driving process chain. The three stages are further characterized as follows: Sense - vehicle status and vehicle environment sensing, Plan - action planning and selection, and Act - action implementation. For each of these stages, we offer a portfolio of high-performance, highly advanced products, through which we can contribute to greater road safety.
What types of solutions/products do you offer for a vehicle braking system to ensure safety?
KK: We have a complete portfolio of anti-lock braking system (ABS) and ESC products based on our MK100 platform. Additionally, we have MK C1, which enables recuperation of braking energy in a much wider range than standard regenerative brake systems, thanks to the “brake-by-wire” design. The innovative “One-Box” system integrates the tandem master cylinder (TMC), brake booster and control systems (ABS and ESC) into a single compact and weight-saving (approximately 30 per cent) module. Continental’s MK C1 can build up braking pressure in 150 milliseconds (time-to-lock), which is twice as fast as conventional systems today.
Continental’s MiniMAB is a single channel system which is a small and lightweight solution for scooters and motor-cycles whereas MK100MAB is a dual channel system which provides a full range of functionalities.
TL: We also offer hydraulic brake systems, a new technology caliper that is focused on reducing the drag and achieve zero degree, which helps to reduce the emission of CO2, and drum brakes among other things.
Could you please highlight some of your innovative solutions/products for a braking system that was recently launched in India?
KK: The recent legislation that makes ABS mandatory in 2-wheelers above 125cc has spurred growth for ABS. However, India being a value-driven market, it requires various types of solutions. Continental has introduced one-channel ABS for smaller motorcycles and scooters. Based on proven ABS technology for passenger cars, it was developed especially for cost-sensitive markets such as Asia, where 2-wheelers are equipped only with a hydraulic brake on the front wheel. The one-channel ABS is an addition to Continental’s portfolio of motorcycle systems currently in series production. Further, ABS products are the Motorcycle Integral Brake Systems and Motorcycle Anti-Lock Brake Systems (2-Channel ABS). With a box volume of significantly less than 300 cubic centimetres and weighing roughly 420 grams the motorcycle ABS is very light and can be easily applied to suit the widest range of motorcycle and motor scooter models.
Will changes like electric vehicles, connected vehicles, etc affect the development of the braking system?
KK: With our systems and components, we protect human lives regardless of the market, drive technology or vehicle class. That’s why safety standards for electric vehicles will be every bit as high as those for vehicles with conventional engines.
As we move towards connected and automated driving, ESC will become a critical component. Manual parking brakes will also shift towards electric parking brakes.
Our work on vehicles with internal combustion engines means we are already well prepared for electric vehicles. Continental has a new, weight-reduced wheel and brake design called the New Wheel Concept. By using a corrosion-free, aluminium brake disc and matching brake, rust formation is prevented as well as the potential resulting deterioration of brake performance. The New Wheel Concept can reduce the weight of the wheel and the brake. Other advantages of the concept include simpler wheel and brake pad changes and no wear of the brake disk.
TL: Existing systems (eg recuperative brakes) in vehicles with internal combustion engines can also be transferred to electric vehicles. There are no safety restrictions for electric vehicles. Due to the intensive energy recuperation, the foundation brakes are used much less.
What kind of trends are you witnessing in the vehicle braking system?
KK: The increase in awareness regarding safety norms has boosted growth in vehicle braking system technologies. The impending need for safety features in vehicles, driven primarily by government mandates, will see the ABS market in India growing exponentially in the near term. Continental is well-equipped to support this growth. Vehicles above 125cc and above form a huge portion of the 2-wheeler production volumes in India. The market is also segmented into scooters, mopeds and motorcycles. There is a significant opportunity opening-up for the ABS market in India.
TL: India is working to make Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) mandatory in cars by 2022-23 timeframe. On the other hand, OEMs are also looking out for lighter and high-performance boosters and calipers that help in reducing vehicle drag on brake. There is an increasing demand for drum brakes with copper-free material to reduce friction and achieve reduced noise level. In the premium vehicle segment, there is a growing trend for electric parking brake (EPB), it is only a matter of time that the demand for EPB will grow in entry-level vehicles. The new technology caliper is focused on reducing the drag and achieve zero degree, which helps to reduce the emission of CO2.
What are your growth plans for braking system business?
KK: As mentioned above, there is a considerable opportunity for the ABS technology, driven by legislations. ESC will also see further growth, spurred by the interest in safety technology. Though ESC is not mandated yet, it will be the next step to provide more safety and comfort to the driver and will see an uptake in the next five years. With the increase of electric content in cars, there will also be a demand for EPB (which is currently more common in luxury cars). EPB requires installation of ESC as well.
TL: In September 2018, our plant in Gurgaon achieved a milestone of 1 million units of EBS. This displays a high amount of interest from OEMs in this technology. Our R&D team in India work on products for India and extend support to Japan and Italy. Brake NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) is an area where R&D has achieved a high level of competences. With the growing market of electrical vehicles, NVH will be more demanding.
Anti Lock Braking System
Electronic Stability Control
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Electric Parking Brake
Hydraulic Brake Systems
Tandem Master Cylinder
Hydraulic Brake Systems
Integral Brake Systems And Motorcycle Anti Lock Brake Systems
Electric Parking Brake
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