Brake by Wire history
what is brake by wire?
how it works
which cars have it?
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X-by-wire technology was originally developed and used in the aerospace industry, where all steering, throttle, and braking operations are carried out by electronic systems rather than mechanical systems. Airline engineers found that eliminating bulky mechanical systems and replacing them with electronic systems created airplanes that were more reliable as well as more compact.
Additionally, using brake by wire technology allowed airplanes to be more fuel efficient because removing the mechanical systems reduced the overall weight of the aircraft and cut out brake drag. This also had the added benefit of making brake pads last longer.
Automotive engineers have studied this technology and have been developing ways to translate it to passenger cars. Switching to brake by wire technology does cut out the automatic backup inherent in traditional hydraulic systems, so they must be very reliable.
An intermediate technology currently in use is called electro-hydraulic braking (EHB) which uses electronic braking components but also employs hydraulic braking systems as a backup.