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Bosch Unveils iBooster - Brakes Of The Future

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Bosch Unveils Brakes Of The Future - iBooster For Improved Regenerative Braking And Emergency Stopping

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

BOXBERG, Germany. June 19, 2013. Automotive supplier Robert Bosch GmbH presented the iBooster, a brake booster that in the near future will replace the conventional unit. The Bosch booster enables a much faster emergency stop and makes hybrid and electric vehicles more efficient.

During the 61st Press Briefing of the Bosch Automotive Group, chairman Dr. Bernd Bohr talked about the innovative technologies that his company has developed, or is in an advanced stage of development. His speech was titled ‘The Future of cars is here’., which was exactly what the presentations were about.

One of the novelties is the iBooster, an electromechanical brake booster that is electronically operated and does not require any vacuum from the engine or a vacuum pump. That in itself is an aspect of weight reduction and thus reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emission.

The iBooster has been especially developed for hybrid and electric vehicles that often cruise on the motorway or that drive in electric mode for many miles and consequently do not regenerate much energy from braking.

The iBooster addresses this issue by building up pressure autonomously. This enables not only better brake energy recovery and increasing the driving range, but it also has another important advantage. During an emergency stop, brake force is added by the iBooster and brake pressure is built up fully autonomously in some 120 milliseconds. This is three times faster compared to a conventional brake booster.

Through the electronic control unit, pressure can be set much more exactly, so that during driving in a cue, the car can be automatically and gently braked.

The system works with sensors that measure the amount of pressure on the brake pedal and the speed at which it is pushed. This also allows the system to recognize driving patterns in order to preset the braking force as it detects the driver’s braking request.

Car manufacturers that offer different driving modes, such as ‘normal’, ‘active’ and ‘sport’, can offer adaptive pedal characteristics through software modifications so that the driver has the possibility to choose accordingly.

The bi-annual press briefing took place at the Bosch proving ground near Boxberg, a lovely small town at an hour’s drive east of Frankfurt. The location allowed the company to show the innovations in several prototypes, and to give us the opportunity to test several new technologies in cars on a closed off part of the test track.

It may not surprise you that the prototype with the iBooster was the first I wanted to drive. Not only because it offers a much shorter emergency stop, but also because it meets all future requirements of electric drives and driver assistance systems.

During a test drive with the iBooster the system not only proved to work very fast, but also vibration-free and effortless. And there was a consistent pedal feel. Even better, the engineer on the passenger seat could switch between the iBooster and the conventional brake booster, in order to show the difference. And it did show indeed: braking pressure is built up at rocket speed and the braking distance is much shorter.

This year, Bosch will start production of the innovation for ‘three projects '. I bet it will debut in a new premium model from a German manufacturer. Bosch expects that in the medium term the iBooster will replace the classic brake booster in a large number of vehicles.