How Will The Mercedes Brake Recall Affect Next-Generation Braking Deployment?, asks ABI ResearchOYSTER BAY, N.Y.--June 2, 2004--DaimlerChrysler's recent announcement that it is recalling some 680,000 Maybach, SL-, S- and E- series Mercedes-Benz vehicles to fix problems in their advanced electrohydraulic brake systems points up the risks automakers run in their efforts to stay ahead of the technological curve.
Mercedes was a pioneer in offering this technology, and hindsight now shows that the offering may have been premature. What went wrong and will this affect the future market?
"Mercedes, and tier one supplier, Bosch, have been promoting their electrohydraulic technology for years", says Dan Benjamin, ABI Research analyst. "Even before the recall, this was a complicated system where there were some complaints about usability. Drivers performing low-speed maneuvers have had their cars come to a sudden halt because the system 'thinks' it's seeing a panic stop." The reason for the recall is said to be the possibility of air-bubble contamination of the system's additional fluid reservoir.
"While electrohydraulic brakes do offer their advantages" says Benjamin, "they come at a great expense, while much of their additional functionality, such as hill-stop and panic braking, can be duplicated by more inexpensive systems." ABI Research has concluded that the simpler and cheaper systems will continue to gain popularity, despite this hiccup.
Electrohydraulic braking systems and other automotive electronic subsystems of both this and the next generation are detailed in ABI Research's "X-by-Wire" study. According to the report, which also examines various vendors' positions and strategies in regard to their implementation, next-generation braking systems will be cheaper, simpler and more effective. ABI Research also addresses the advanced technologies that will be required for the true brake-by-wire systems of the future, including enabling network technologies such as FlexRay, TTP and CAN.
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