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Switched reluctance machines will deliver brake-by-wire
Published:  01 April, 2002

Switched reluctance machines will deliver brake-by-wire

US researchers are developing a vehicle braking system, based on switched reluctance machine (SRM) technology, that would work independently of the vehicle engine. At present, most braking systems rely on a vacuum produced by the engine, but future hybrid-electric and all-electric, high-efficiency vehicles will need independent brakes.

The US Department of Energy has awarded a contract worth more than $850,000 to the development team, led by the state of Indiana and including Electricore and Delphi Automotive Systems.

The aim of the project is to design and build a brake-by-wire electromechanical actuator that outperforms today`s vacuum-assisted hydraulic braking actuators. It is based on an SRM with an integrated power converter and controller.

As well as operating independently from the engine, the SRM braking system promises other potential attractions, including improved brake force control, and better integration with other chassis systems, such as steering and suspension, resulting in better vehicle stability and performance.

"SRMs offer technical advantages over other machine technologies when applied to the brake-by-wire application, including a much smaller package and reduced mass at the wheel, compared to a brush-type motor," says Scott Bailey, director of engineering at Delphi Energy and Chassis Systems. "These attributes have a significant impact on the performance of the vehicle`s braking systems, as well as improving energy efficiency."

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