You tend to hear the old “build a better mousetrap” adage a lot when taking about automotive technology of the future.
But after seeing some of the innovation behind the new Sensify system from Brembo, we’re inclined to use it again.
While “brake by wire” setups aren’t too terribly new, Brembo’s Sensify brake system takes a giant leap with that tech, incorporating a vast array of sensors, electric motors, and computers to deliver an incredible amount of control over each wheel.
Want a good primer on traditional brake system layouts? Read this: What’s the Difference Between Single- & Dual-Circuit Brake Systems?
One of the first things you’ll notice, is that there’s no longer a single master cylinder connected to the brake pedal. Instead, the pedal connects to an electronic module that (and we’re summarizing a lot here) sends individual signals to brake controllers in the front and rear. In a hybrid Sensify system (hydraulic calipers in front/electric calipers in rear), those front brake controllers then link to their own left and right side brake fluid reservoirs that are governed by an electric motor, which ultimately connect to the brake caliper at each wheel.
The rear calipers are completely operated via electric motors.
And that’s just the hybrid design, Brembo says on certain setups, even the brake fluid becomes unnecessary, thanks to electric motors driving every caliper piston directly in single integrated units.
Regardless of the system specifics, these setups allow individual wheel speed to be controlled by a central computer, which Brembo says can significantly improve safety. In other words, it’ll make traditional ABS designs obsolete.
Then there are some efficiency benefits to consider, like having the electric motors pull the pad completely away from the caliper when not engaged to reduce drag, and for EVs, enhanced power-recovering regen capabilities.
While at first glance this system seems complex, Brembo makes it a point to say that, when refined, it could actually be cheaper and easier to service than an ordinary hydraulic system—and anyone’s who’s spent an afternoon purging air bubbles from a finicky caliper would appreciate that.
We may not have to wait long to find out if this design is practical either, as Brembo’s been working with some OEs to integrate the Sensify System already, with earliest production slated for 2024.
Check out the video below to learn a bit more: