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Anti-Lock Braking System – Basics

Anti-Lock Braking System – Basics

We have heard of ABS or Anti-Lock Braking Systems on vehicles. But what is it? How does it help us? Let us look into some of the basics and working of it.

Anti-Lock Braking System is a safety mechanism that prevents the wheels of a vehicle from getting locked up under emergency, panic or harsh braking conditions. Due to the latest safety regulations, most of the four and two wheelers nowadays come with ABS. The traction between the tyres and the road surface can be lost in case of a sudden braking condition. This can cause a vehicle to skid. When things go out of control and the vehicle continues to be in motion, the driver may lose grip and result in a collision or a serious accident. This is where ABS protects us from casualties.

How does ABS Work?

The working of ABS is more or less as follows.

  • Wheel Speed Sensors located on the wheels monitor the speed of each Wheel. There is an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that reads signals from each sensor. Upon detecting reduced speed of any of the wheel(s) compared to others, the ECU sends signals to the Valves of the respective wheels. This reduces the brake pressure and the Valve gets closed
  • The Wheel then starts to accelerate again and a signal is sent to the ECU once again. This in turn sends signal to open the Valve and increase the brake pressure and brakes are applied
  • This cycle gets repeated until the application of brakes becomes normal

When and ABS is in action, the brakes are applied and released several times in one second. Thus the system ensures that the wheels do not get locked up under hard braking. The vehicle slows down and also maintains its grip while the available traction allows the driver to give steering inputs. The driver can thus avoid accidents.

Here is a small video explaining about the practical working of ABS. Watch it and know better about the technology.

Video provided only for illustration – Credit: Lesics

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.

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