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English   More than 30 years: ABS - ready for production in 1978 *
01.02.2009 von admin

German version

More than 30 years: ABS, ready for production in 1978

Commercial vehicles included: After the world premiere in passenger cars in 1978, Mercedes-Benz presented the anti-lock braking system in a touring coach in 1979.

In August 1978 Mercedes-Benz presented the second-generation anti-lock braking system (ABS), developed together with Bosch, to the press in Untertürkheim. The world-first enables a driver to retain steering control even during emergency braking. From December the innovation became available, initially in the S-Class sedans (116 series).

Eight years before, in 1970, the first-generation anti-lock braking system for passenger cars, a system that had been developed together with TELDIX, had its world premiere. ABS is thus an example of the great staying power sometimes required to bring a product up to production standard – a responsibility which the Mercedes-Benz brand takes upon itself again and again with its numerous innovations.

Development over decades

An anti-lock braking system had been on the automotive engineers' list of wishes for decades – it was, after all, expected to improve handling safety drastically by retaining steerability during braking. As early as 1928 the German Karl Wessel had been granted a patent on a braking force regulator for automobiles, but this design only existed on paper.

In 1941, an anti-lock regulator was tested with which, however, "only modest successes were achieved," as the "Automobiltechnisches Handbuch" (Automotive Engineering Manual) reported.

Nevertheless, these first attempts set the course: an anti-lock braking system had to have sensors for measuring the speeds of each front wheel, as well as a control unit for recording and comparing the data measured by the sensors. This control unit was to correct excessive deviations by individually controlling the brake pressure at every wheel up to the point at which the wheel is about to lock.

However, the transfer of the idea into hardware for use on the road proved to be significantly more difficult than expected. The sensors did work satisfactorily as early as 1952, in an anti-skid system for aircraft, and in 1954 in a Knorr braking system for railways.

But in the car, the demands on the mechanical friction wheel sensors were much higher: they had to register decelerations and accelerations in wheel speeds, they had to react reliably in corners and on rough ground and work perfectly even when heavily soiled and at high temperatures.

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