New braking system for trucks could reduce accidents

  • June 19, 2011
New braking system for trucks could reduce accidents

Research by Gates alumnus Jonathan Miller could improve safety.

A new braking system developed by a team of Cambridge engineers and industry experts could shorten trucks’ braking distances significantly and improve road safety.

The team includes Gates alumnus Jonathan Miller, who presented the research findings at an open day at the Motor Industry Research Association in Nuneaton earlier in the year.

Jonathan [2006], who now works for project sponsor Haldex Brake Products, is part of the Cambridge Vehicle Dynamics Consortium, a collaboration between the University and the heavy vehicle industry. He and other engineers in the University, along with experts from Haldex, have developed an emergency braking “slip control” system which improves braking speed and control on trucks and trailers. Jonathan told the Research Association meeting that current emergency braking systems for heavy vehicles could be made to perform significantly better by speeding up the air delivery system and improving the control software.

Slip control works by rapidly regulating the wheels between free rolling and fully skidding to maximize the vehicle’s ability to stop while maintaining its ability to manoeuvre. By increasing the speed of the air delivery valves, cutting the valve opening time from 40 miliseconds to three, the researchers found they could shorten the stopping distance by up to 25%, making the brakes more efficient. The system also used 50% less energy in the form of compressed air.

Full scale tests with the new system are expected to be conducted next year and Jonathan says it should be possible to upgrade existing vehicles to the new technology in due course.

Picture credit: freedigitalphotos.net and digitalart.

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