Safe, controllable and optimum
brake performance at all times – these are just some of the things that drivers
want from their brake systems and hence result in increased automation.
Technology company Continental has responded to this trend by developing a
third-generation ABS (ABS3), and securing additional safety potential for
achieving the long-term goal of Vision Zero – the vision of accident-free
This new generation adapts the
brake pressure control with even greater speed and precision to suit changing
road conditions. This means that the vehicle remains more maneuverable even
when the brakes are applied sharply and optimum brake performance is ensured
even under difficult circumstances. When the brakes are applied on road
surfaces with different friction coefficients (µ-split situations) – for
example, the lane on the right is covered in leaves, snow or gravel, while the
lane in the middle has a much grippier surface – the ABS has to apply
completely different levels of braking force to the wheels on the left and
right to ensure maximum deceleration without compromising vehicle stability.
“To ensure optimum brake
performance and maneuverability at all times even under ever-changing conditions,
ABS3 takes these changes into account more quickly and robustly when
controlling the wheel dynamics,” said Felix Bietenbeck, head of the Vehicle
Dynamics business unit at Continental. This means that ABS3 responds even more
quickly than the previous generation to abrupt changes in the level of road
grip. A typical example is a car whose driver executes a full braking manoeuvre
starting on a slippery road surface and ending on a grippier one – a scenario
known as a “low-µ/high-µ jump.” This causes the lock-up pressure level to
change. “Even if this change occurs abruptly, ABS3 can handle this more
effectively than ABS2 thanks to its dynamic response and adaptive controller
structure,” said Bietenbeck.
During winter test drives
conducted in four different vehicles – each equipped with ABS2 or ABS3 and
fitted with predecessor or current tyre models – at the Continental test site
in Arvidsjaur in Sweden, the benefits of ABS3 for both tyre generations were
clear to see. The planned test manoeuvres included not only the µ-split and
low-µ/high-µ jump, but also a lane change with the brakes applied.
ABS and ESC have made a key
contribution to improving road safety and saving lives, which is why these
systems are offered as standard by most manufacturers and today are generally
considered as the most important step on the road toward safer driving. ESC in
today's version is an extension of the ABS. The ABS prevents the wheels from
locking when the driver is braking so that the vehicle remains capable of being
steered. The ESC prevents the breakaway of the vehicle through targeted braking
interventions by the electronics. Both systems complement each other to offer
maximum safety and optimum driving stability within the physical limits. The
generic concept behind ABS3 means that specific situations such as µ-split do
not need to be detected and applied. These benefits mean that the
third-generation ABS is much easier than ABS2 to apply in different vehicle
“Thanks to the ability of ABS3
to quickly respond to changes, drivers can retain control over their vehicles
more effectively at the crucial moment and feel much safer as a result,” said
Jochen Müller, function developer at Continental. “We are supporting recent
trends, too – for example, if a driver decides to have tyres with optimised
rolling resistance fitted to their car for environmental reasons, the ABS must
be able to respond perfectly to this change. This is something else that ABS3
is designed for,” added Muller. This is
made possible thanks to the adaptive controller in ABS3, which, using a
model-based concept, more effectively allows for different tyre behaviours.
With ABS3, drivers who decide to have tyres with optimized rolling resistance
fitted to their car benefit from the fact that this allowance for changed tyre
behaviour helps to improve the braking effect. “Most drivers probably aren’t
necessarily aware of this interaction. But with ABS3, they can be confident
that they have the right safety system for their new tyres,” said Müller.
The tyre transmits power
between the vehicle and the road in all driving situations. The ABS anti-lock
braking system is representative for vehicle control systems. The ABS ensures
optimum slip even during emergency braking, which means that the maximum
possible braking force is transferred from the tyre to the road surface (µ-slip
curve). Despite this, the vehicle remains manoeuvrable because the wheels are
prevented from locking up. This control procedure is extremely demanding because
it has to occur very dynamically. In addition to the manageability and
steerability of the vehicle during emergency situations, the ABS must ensure,
especially in the longitudinal dynamics, that the friction potential of the
tyre is optimally exhausted. ABS3 pays particular attention to the fact that
the interaction between the tyres and road surface is influenced by a whole
range of factors, some of which – road friction, temperature, vehicle load and
speed – change all the time. But, as drivers are all too aware from the annual
tyre tests, the quality of the tyre itself also plays a key role.
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