Drive-by-wire technology in automotive industry replaces the traditional mechanical and hydraulic control systems with electronic control systems using electromechanical actuators and human-machine interfaces such as pedal and steering feel emulators. Brake-by-wire represents the replacement of traditional components such as the pumps, hoses, fluids, belts and vacuum servos and master cylinders with electronic sensors and actuators.

Using brake-by-wire technology, brakes are controlled by small computer chips rather than by traditional mechanical/hydraulic systems, which eliminates all brake fluids and lines as well as most mechanical parts customarily associated with brakes. Brake by wire systems are also called electro-mechanical brakes (EMB).

Advantages of Brake-by-wire Systems

  • Brake-by-wire technology reacts more quickly, resulting in shorter stopping distances and increased safety. As of 2011, there is an intermediairy system available, brake assist, is being used for increased speed on conventional hydraulic brakes.
  • Since there are no mechanical parts, brake by wire systems are totally silent, and do not have the vibration felt through the brake pedal and normally associated with antilock brakes.
  • Brake-by-wire systems occupy very less space compared to the conventional mechanical/hydraulic brake systems.
  • Since there is no corrosive brake fluid involved, brake by wire systems are considered less damaging to the environment.
  • Brake-by-wire takes electrical power instead of mechanical power, so it is easy for design of forthcoming electrical and hybrid vehicle technologies.

Using brake-by-wire technology, electronically operated park brakes that can be applied with the touch of a button, and which automatically release when the vehicle moves off, are already in production.