Continuing just-auto’s series of interviews with tier one braking system suppliers, Matthew Beecham caught-up with Felix Bietenbeck, executive vice president, business unit vehicle dynamics, Continental Corporation.

As with a number of other collision avoidance systems, is there a danger that cars fitted with automatic emergency braking (AEB) will make the driver that little less attentive, ‘safe’ in the knowledge that the technology will take over if required?

We don’t think so. At the moment, over 70 percent of road traffic accidents are created by the driver. Our aim is to help reduce that as well as some of the remaining 30 percent. That is our main target. Early studies showed that even if the driver is paying full attention to the traffic, what is he doing in these cases? He is not hitting the brake pedal with sufficient force hence the AEB function. If we have the right information from the sensor, we can create the full brake in order to help avoid a collision.

Should all this data be recorded on the car’s black box?

Maybe. I think what is important is the data is owned by the driver, not the component supplier or carmaker. So a black box might come but in the end the driver has to agree to [releasing] that data.

Are you developing a brake-by-wire system?

For the moment we do not see a complete brake-by-wire system coming and nor are not working on a brake-by-wire system. I think we cannot afford the cost for these systems but what we are doing is a step in-between, i.e. a hydraulic-by-wire system. It is a hydraulic-by-wire simulator system with a completely different actuator and pump performance. It allows [us] to react faster. We can provide technologies like low drag calipers to reduce the friction at the wheel thereby reduce weight by [introducing] these systems.

Some say that while hydro-electric and electromechnaical brake systems are potentially safer than conventional braking systems – due to the potential for greater integration with ABS and ESC – safety concerns have held them back. What’s your view?

First of all I can totally agree to the first part of your question. We are able to provide with these systems, with the hydraulic-by-wire system additional functionalities [but] we do not see safety concerns because we have the very old-fashioned fall back solution for that, namely a TMC [Tandem Master Cylinder]. So even in a situation where the complete electricity in the car is failing, we still have a hydraulic fall back. That is why we also believe that is the right solution; it’s not a completely brake-by-wire, it has still the old-fashioned hydraulic brake solution integrated, and therefore we do not see big safety concerns at the moment about the system. So it’s a different approach.

I guess that the size and bandwidth of car platforms these days are so high that a single electronic brake system is not cost-effective. How do you set about addressing that?

The remainder of this interview is available on just-auto’s QUBE light vehicle electronic braking systems market research service