Its new Sensify system is game-changing tech with multiple applications.
In October last year, Brembo introduced its new Sensify Intelligent Braking System. It represents a turning point in braking and how it's perceived by drivers.
In layman's terms, Brembo Sensify is an entire braking ecosystem that differs from the hydraulic setup we currently know and rely on, where you stomp on the brake pedal and the force from your right foot is transmitted to the brake pads via the hydraulic brake fluid. The brake pads clamp onto the disc, and the huge amount of friction slows the car down.
Brembo has been a leader in braking for several decades on the street and the race track. It provides braking systems to F1, and on the consumer side, you'll find its products on the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, the Civic Type R, Mazda's evergreen Miata, and several other performance cars. Brembo does not just cater to supercars and sports cars. It has several aftermarket products for SUV and truck owners looking for a more powerful, fade-free experience.
Sensify takes the existing hardware components we know and combines them with software, algorithms, various sensors, two digital brains, and four independent braking systems activated and controlled by actuators. There's no mechanical link between the brake pedal and the brake caliper, which may seem scary to some, but it has several benefits.
To find out more, we recently sat down for an interview with Emanuele Bruletti, Brembo North America's Senior Engineering Manager. Bruletti gave us some fascinating insight into Sensify, which we'll cover over a two-part article.
Here, we'll discuss research and development. Brembo spent more than 10 years developing this system, which is a modular and open interface. It can be applied to various products, ranging from humble econoboxes to ultra-expensive and ultra-fast exotics.
For now, we'll focus on the mass market because it will have the most significant global impact.
At the moment, Brembo does not have comparative figures to share. Sensify is still in the development phase, and the first product equipped with it won't hit dealer floors until 2024. "Producing comparison figures is also tricky because braking distances depend on various external factors and tire choices," said Bruletti.
Brembo will get around to it, but there are more important things to focus on now.
We can tell you that the time between when the driver hits the brakes to the calipers locking has been shortened to 100 milliseconds. The industry standard is currently 160 milliseconds. Will that have an impact on braking distance? Maybe a few inches, but a mere inch can be the difference between life and death when it comes to braking performance.
Bruletti also touched on a benefit we've never thought of before. Sensify will be able to do amazing things in the performance sphere, but it also has the potential to revolutionize the humble antilock braking system (ABS).
To us, ABS is the ultimate active safety system. It's something we haven't given much thought to until Bruletti talked about it. "Most people never experience ABS until they need it. It can be quite disconcerting and we want to remove that via Sensify," said Bruletti.
We're no strangers to ABS kicking in. It's part of writing about and testing cars. Because you're reading a post on CarBuzz, it's safe to say that you've also had a few late-braking encounters. But keep in mind that the vast majority of drivers have no clue what ABS even feels like. Imagine how upsetting it must be, especially in an emergency.
The video above is old, but it perfectly demonstrates what we're discussing. You get that odd mechanical stuttering noise as the ABS grabs and releases, not to mention the brake pedal acting like it's at an early '90s rave party.
Sensify will remove all of that. "Thanks to the rapid response time, and all four wheels being connected to two digital brains (one for the front axle, one for the rear) rather than a mechanical system, it can remove most of the shuttering and bring the car to a halt in a calmer fashion," said Bruletti.
Because the brake pedal is not connected to any mechanical system, the feel remains constant.
All new technology comes with a price, but Brembo kept that in mind. Sensify was designed to be scalable and fit for various applications, which means more inexpensive materials can be used for volume cars. But the real magic lies on the performance side, which we'll be expanding on in part two.