Intelligent, high-performance service brake module for heavy vehicles

Research Motivating Problem:

•Brake performance of trucks are limited by today’s brake actuators
•A novel brake actuator valve is promising in initial tests (fast and accurate torque actuation, proven during wheel slip control). The actuator would require a change of integration, especially in combination-vehicles where improved wheel-individual braking strongly affects the combination-vehicle’s brake performance and stability.

Envisioned product/solution:

•Mechatronic integration of the novel brake actuator into functional architecture (e.g. interface between vehicle and actuator SW) for single unit trucks and combination-vehicles

Research question(s):

•How shall the improved brake actuation best be utilized in heavy vehicles?


•Integration of actuator and changed vehicle motion control verified in high fidelity simulations, for several single- and combination-vehicles. Verify improved
performance and no undesired behaviour. Lift from TRL4 to TRL6.
•Verification and demonstration in real vehicle in a limited scale, e.g. a converter dolly
•1 Vehicle Dynamics Docent (based also on Leon’s previous research in prototype development project by Cambridge University, Haldex and Volvo GTT, 2014-2015.)


Heavy vehicles exhibit longer stopping distances than passenger cars; this characteristic, along with lateral stability problems due to their size and multiple articulation points, contribute to heavy vehicles overrepresentation in accident data. Improving the braking efficiency of these vehicles and improving their lateral controllability through better actuator coordination could reduce the likelihood of accident scenarios which currently account for approximately 1,200 deaths in Europe per year.

Haldex AB, working in collaboration with The University of Cambridge (UK), have developed a prototype fast-acting pneumatic brake valve which, combined with a slip-control braking strategy, has been shown to reduce the stopping distance of modern heavy vehicles by 16-17% (in low friction conditions). The modular, wheel-end based arrangement of the Haldex system also enables accurate brake torque control of each wheel, which is well suited to full-vehicle actuator coordination strategies (such as those being developed by Volvo GTT in their vehicle motion management controller).

The project will investigate the full range of improvements that can be achieved by fully integrating the Haldex system with Volvo’s vehicle motion management controller. Expected improvements over conventional electronically-controlled pneumatic braking systems (EBS) include: improved emergency braking performance in straight-line and brake-in-turn scenarios; improved electronic stability control (ESC) performance; improved real-time knowledge of road conditions and brake system capability; improved manoeuvrability (through the use of actuator coordination).


Bengt J H Jacobson (contact)

Professor at Applied Mechanics, Vehicle Engineering and Autonomous Systems

Leon Henderson

Doktor at Applied Mechanics, Vehicle Engineering and Autonomous Systems

Leo Laine

Adj professor at Applied Mechanics, Vehicle Engineering and Autonomous Systems



Landskrona, Sweden

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Volvo Trucks

Gothenburg, Sweden



Funding years 2016–2020

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