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Automotive brakes evolve

Siemens designs a revolutionary new brake for cars.

Siemens Electronic Wedge Brake

German widget maker Siemens developed a new type of brake for cars that uses electricity rather than hydraulics. AutoWeek reported on the new system, which looks like the next evolutionary step, just as disc brakes were a big step beyond drum brakes, previously. Siemen's Electronic Wedge Brake (EWB) still uses a disc, but instead of clamping down on it with a hydraulically actuated caliper, the EWB uses a motor to move a wedge in-between the disc and the caliper. At least, that's the ultrasimple explanation. The Siemens Web site goes into more depth explaining how the EWB works, but I could barely follow it. The upshot is that EWB requires significantly less energy than a traditional disc brake and completely eliminates the need for all the hydraulic infrastructure. Siemens also claims that tests show the EWB as providing better stopping power than traditional brakes. The AutoWeek article reports that EWB will first appear in a car from a European automaker in 2008.

(Source: AutoWeek)