Bosch has been a pioneer in many of the technologies that make modern cars as capable as they are today, and the company has just recently produced its 150 millionth electronic brake control system. In 1978, the very first electronically controlled anti-lock brake system developed by Bosch appeared on a Mercedes-Benz using wheel speed sensors and the brake switch as the inputs to the system. The speed sensors detected when wheels were decelerating faster than the vehicle and reduced the braking pressure to the individual wheels until they recovered. After that, the system continued to control each wheel’s brake pressure to get optimum deceleration for the road surface.
The expensive three-way three-position solenoids used in the original system have given way to less expensive two-way solenoids that give even more precise control. The addition of throttle position and engine control as inputs to the system, along with more solenoids, allowed it to control acceleration as well as braking. In more recent years, steering angle, lateral acceleration and vehicle rotational sensors have allowed stability control to sense more of what the driver is trying to do and control the vehicle to match those demands. Electronic stability control is rapidly becoming ubiquitous on new vehicles and is definitely helping to quell the tendency of SUVs to go wheels up. A lot of that credit should go back to Bosch who began it all 150 million units ago.