Imagine you are with your family on an uphill, with a moderate car and enjoying the scenic beauty of the sunset and Mr. Responsible after driving miles, taxed and worn out forgot to pull the handbrake. And there it goes, your car gone in the wind downhill. Well now imagine a scenario with the same assets but now you have a new system in your car, you just push the button and all the four wheels get locked. The electronic parking brake(EPB) system is what it’s all about. This isn’t a new technology, well Audi has been using it since 2002. But for an average middle-class person, he still uses the lever to pull the hand brake.
Time passes by, however, all the apex companies try to make it possible that the new technology is been enjoyed by everyone making it cheap and effective. Amongst the companies that manufacture electronic parking brakes, ZF TRW is the inventor of electronic parking braking system. It started using this technology for Ford, Nissan, Audi, Range Rover in the year 2001. The traditional braking system worked by pulling a hand lever which created tension between the cables that were connected in line to the brake pads thereby squeezing the discs to decelerate the vehicle and get to a halt. Vehicles have the drum brakes for the rear braking system and the discs for parking brakes. On the contrary, this mechanical braking system will be replaced by an electronic system as the name itself indicates.
You press a button and you could hear a whirring sound made by the motors which indicate that the car is held secured by the EPB. The motor initiates that squeezes the caliper onto the discs thereby holding the wheels intact without any motion. To release the parking brakes, you just press the throttle. If you speak about the drawbacks, then it should be the maintenance of the brake pads and calibration of the pads onto the discs which is very vital. You really need to keep a scrutiny on them at regular intervals. Another drawback would be if you are a Michael Schumacher on the local roads, or the Paul O’Conner on the streets, you should possibly think to shift to mechanical braking, your car won’t drift at all.
The additional features that are installed are the hill mode where you can stop your car when you lose control ascending uphill. The latest notion is the autostop in traffic wherein the sensors would scan for the traffic lights and accordingly holds the brakes for you. The efficiency of electronic systems over mechanical cable system is way better and it has been used in top automobiles like Jaguar, Audi, Volkswagen, Renault etc. It has been a remarkable idea as the pros weigh more than the cons.
ZR TRW along with Brakes India in a joint venture will provide a better solution for introducing EPB in all the cars that not only improves the safety of driving but also raises the standard of the automobiles. Keeping the fingers crossed, we hope Brakes India and ZR TRW try to make this idea possible at a cost that won’t cost a king’s ransom for a man’s pocket, thereby revolutionizing the automobile industry.