Company claims orders worth $2 billion to produce ‘Future Brake System’ in 2025

The 'semi-dry brakes represent the next generation of braking.'
Baba Tamim
Future Brake System.
Future Brake System.

Continental  

German-based technology company Continental Automotive claims to have secured its first significant order in the third quarter for its semi-dry brake system called 'Future Brake System' (FBS).

The mass manufacture of its semi-dry brake system (also known as FBS 2) is claimed to be worth approximately €1.5 billion (U.S. $1.55 billion), the company declared in a press release on Wednesday.

"We are excited to start seeing the future brake system on the road soon," said Lutz Kuehnke, head of Safety and Motion Business Area and Vehicle Dynamics at Continental Automotive, North America.

"Semi-dry brakes represent the next generation of braking on our product roadmap. Systems like this are essential for drivers to be able to safely access additional electrification and automated driving features."

Due to the success, the lifetime sales for this new system have increased to more than €2 billion (U.S $2.07 billion), claimed the firm.

Manufacturing of FBS is anticipated to begin in 2025 with a North American automaker.

What is FBS?

Brake systems are becoming more intelligent to satisfy the needs and expectations of automated driving, electrification, and digitalization, while vehicle layouts are fundamentally changing toward a zone-based architecture.

Future Brake Systems are mainly utilized in automobiles with altered architectures. A further step towards the software-defined vehicle, the FBS provides the automaker the ability to choose smart actuator hardware, where the software can be deployed over any electronic control unit to maintain safety redundancy and provide flexibility to the customers.

Four dry wheel brakes (calipers or drums) plus a series of software function blocks make up an FBS 3 brake system(the latest upgrade by the company).

For safety and redundancy, these components can run on a number of current High-performance Computers (HPC), with integrated Wheel Control Units providing the necessary redundancy.

The semi-dry system includes the MK C2 brake-by-wire system from Continental's second generation, along with electromechanical brakes on the back axle. There is no need for brake fluid with these "dry" brakes, claims the company.

The brakes on the front axle function hydraulically, much like a conventional "wet" brake. Continental Air Supply, a highly integrated air supply system utilized in conjunction with air springs on the front and rear axles for air suspension, is also integrated into the system.

The complete separation of pedal and pressure generation without fallback mode, which is a feature of real brake-by-wire systems, offers a significant benefit for integration: The brake system is no longer required to be mounted directly at a particular location on the firewall in front of the driver in order to enable mechanical fallback.

Instead, an FBS 1 (first upgrade) with an electronic pedal supports novel vehicle designs with varying interiors and sizes, such as electrified cars' skateboard-like chassis, which can be used to install a variety of bodies.

"With the semi-dry system, there is no longer a need to actuate brakes hydraulically on the rear axle," said Kuehnke.

"That means traditional vehicle architectures can be disrupted to unlock new design opportunities. The system is a key step as we build toward a future where the hydraulic system is eliminated completely."

Safer future brakes

The company's roadmap traces the transition from brake controls to motion systems from FBS 0 to FBS 3.

It outlines a precise route to fully "dry" brakes. The second generation brake-by-wire system from Continental, the MK C2, is at the start. The MK C2 is the entry point to all Future Brake Systems, as seen by its inclusion in the semi-dry system, according to the automotive firm.

Production of the MK C2 will start at Continental's Morganton, North Carolina, facility in the second half of 2023.

"The team here can't wait to start rolling out the MK C2," said David Jones, Morganton Plant Manager. "There is a sense of pride to be at the forefront of producing the future of brake systems. We know the products we make help keep people safe every day. With the MK C2, we're set up to have that same impact on future generations of vehicles and grow our team in the process."

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