Putting brakes on autonomous future

A Dutch company with 90-year-old roots in the automotive braking business is growing its North American presence and says its future lies in supplying by-wire brake systems to enable autonomous vehicles arriving in volume in 2025 and beyond.

Chassis Brakes International, a spin off from Bosch that traces its origins to Bendix in the 1920s, announced plans in January to begin production this summer at its new 100,000-sq.-ft. (9,290-sq.-m) plant in Queretaro, Mexico. By 2020, the plant is expected to supply up to 8,500 brake callipers per day to support production of vehicles built in Mexico and the US The plant size can be doubled depending on demand.

Globally, the company supplies brakes to PSA Peugeot Citroen, Toyota, Ford, Daimler, Renault, FCA and BMW. The company employs 5,200 people in 15 countries. Global sales in 2016 topped €881 million ($1.1 billion). All that current business is important as Chassis Brakes International invests in future Smart Brake technology that Dennis Berry, president-Americas, predicts will be necessary for the safe and predictable operation of coming autonomous vehicles.

“We see the evolution of brakes from a mechanical device to an electronic device,” Berry says. Smart Brake is an electro-mechanical, by-wire system that simplifies stopping by shifting electronic brake controls – the computer “brains” – directly to each wheel, eliminating the need for a master brake cylinder, hydraulic fluid and lines and related power-brake vacuum support. This report first appeared in WardsAuto.

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