Brake Assist (BA) or Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) refers to the vehicle braking system in times of emergency.
It was first introduced through the joint venture of Daimler-Benz and TRW/LucasVarity. This was after research conducted in 1992 during the Mercedes-Benz driving simulator in Berlin which revealed that about 90% of drivers do not apply maximum force during emergency conditions.
Mercedes benz’s electronic brake assist system
The first automaker that employed an electronic brake assist system is the Mercedes Benz. The system which activates automatically to force brake for short stopping distance was introduced on the 1998 Mercedes Benz car models.
During the simulation tests, 99% of drivers were reportedly slow to press the brake pedals or too late to apply full brake. Thus the new brake system offered 45% shorter stopping distances. For example, it has been noted that it took 239 feet to stop a car running from 62 mph. Those with brake assist system stopped in just 131 feet.
How the system works
The system works by detecting if the driver is attempting to make an emergency stop but not applying full force on the brake pedal. This is when the system prevails over the brakes and Antilock Braking System (ABS) is activated to stop the wheels from lock-up.
The system is actually a driver-adaptive system. Using electronic sensors, it detects each movement of the brake pedal and feeds information to a mini-computer. So the system detects when the driver presses the brake pedal faster than normal.
If the computer detects that the pedal speed is faster then it means emergency. It automatically activates an electronic valve on the brake booster for full braking.
There is no fear of the wheel locking up because the vehicle has another standard safety feature, the Antilock Braking System (ABS). When the driver gradually eases up, normal braking will recommence.
To lighten the speed, the brake assist system works with other systems like the ABS, traction control, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and transmission electronics including brake wear and car safety.