What is ABS brakes in cars?
'ABS Brakes' originally stood for the German word 'AntiBlockierSystem', but in the English speaking world it is now understood to be the abbreviation for 'Anti-lock Brake System'. ABS prevents the wheels from locking and skidding when a car is braked. ABS releases the brake individually on the wheel that locks during braking and re-applies the brake repeatedly many times per second. Since the wheel does not lock and skid, the driver has steering control of the car even with full brakes applied at high speed. So ABS brakes are a big safety factor during emergency braking.
Though there were many attempts to fit ABS brakes on cars from the 1960s, Bosch of Germany was the first manufacturer to make an effective production ABS Brake System from 1978 onwards. Mercedes-Benz S-Class cars were the first cars fitted with Bosch ABS brake system. Now worldwide more than 75 percent of all new cars are fitted with ABS Brakes.
Benefits of ABS brakes
ABS brakes prevent the car wheels from locking and skidding when braked hard on a slippery road. With ABS brakes you can steer the car with full brakes applied, even on very slippery roads. With ABS brakes the braking distance for a car to come to a full stop is much shorter than if there were no ABS brakes.
Another advantage of ABS brakes is that it increases the life of tyres on Indian roads. When you brake hard, in a car without ABS Brakes, the tyres skid and the area of the tyre in contact with the road gets worn out. Frequent use of hard braking on Indian roads lead to the tyre getting worn out in different areas on the tyre and this leads to the tyre getting out of balance and causing vibrations. Also the life of a tyre in a car with ABS brakes is much longer than on a car without ABS brakes.
We have here a YouTube video about the benefits of ABS brakes from Bosch, the inventor of ABS brakes, and it is quite a revelation. Please watch it
This is what Bosch says about the need for ABS brakes in India "Studies show that every 5th accident on Indian highways can be altogether avoided by the intervention of ABS. Worldwide India today has the highest number of road accidents fatalities. By 2016 India will become the third largest automotive market in the world. Active safety systems like ABS help maintain steerability and vehicle stability during emergency braking. In Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Columbia ABS will soon become mandatory for all vehicles".
ABS brakes now has a history of 50 years of development. See this Bosch web page wich tell the story of their invention of the ABS brakes ........More about the invention of ABS brakes by Bosch.
Do we really need ABS Brakes in India
Even though there is less chance of hitting high speeds on Indian roads, ABS brakes should be considered an essential and important safety option for cars in India.
This is because of the many dangers on Indian roads like cyclists, pedestrians and animals suddenly appearing before your car and making it necessary to apply hard brakes. During the rains the Indian roads are very slippery and when applying hard brakes on a non-ABS car, it is sure to skid and the driver will lose total steering control of the car. This could lead to serious accidents. An ABS brake in such a situation is a life saver because you can control and steer the car even during hard braking and also the car will stop at a much shorter distance than a car without ABS brakes.
Many new car buyers in India were not willing to pay the extra costs for the option of ABS brakes in the new car they were buying. But ABS brakes being such an effective safety feature and a life saver in emergency braking situations, that the Government of India saw it fit to make it compulsory for all new cars sold after April 2019 to have ABS brakes as standard.
Is ABS mandatory for cars in India
After April, 2019, The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has made it compulsory for all cars to be fitted with ABS Brakes. Thus this life saving safety feature is standard in all new cars in India sold after April of 2019.
New developments in ABS brakes
New developments in ABS brakes are 'Electronic Brakeforce Distribution' or EBD, Traction Control System or TCS, Emergency Brake Assist or EBA and Electronic Stability Control or ESC. These are all improvements on the basic ABS braking system. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution EBD electronically adjusts the brake force on each wheel individually to just below the skidding point of that wheel, Emergency Brake Assist EBA assists the driver in applying full force on the brake pedal when he applies brakes in a panic during an emergency.