Designing and testing an advanced pneumatic braking system for heavy vehicles
Journal article, 2013

Heavy goods vehicles exhibit poor braking performance in emergency situations when compared to other vehicles. Part of the problem is caused by sluggish pneumatic brake actuators, which limit the control bandwidth of their antilock braking systems. In addition, heuristic control algorithms are used that do not achieve the maximum braking force throughout the stop. In this article, a novel braking system is introduced for pneumatically braked heavy goods vehicles. The conventional brake actuators are improved by placing high-bandwidth, binary-actuated valves directly on the brake chambers. A made-for-purpose valve is described. It achieves a switching delay of 3–4 ms in tests, which is an order of magnitude faster than solenoids in conventional anti-lock braking systems. The heuristic braking control algorithms are replaced with a wheel slip regulator based on sliding mode control. The combined actuator and slip controller are shown to reduce stopping distances on smooth and rough, high friction (μ = 0.9) surfaces by 10% and 27% respectively in hardware-in-the-loop tests compared with conventional ABS. On smooth and rough, low friction (μ = 0.2) surfaces, stopping distances are reduced by 23% and 25%, respectively. Moreover, the overall air reservoir size required on a heavy goods vehicle is governed by its air usage during an anti-lock braking stop on a low friction, smooth surface. The 37% reduction in air usage observed in hardware-in-the-loop tests on this surface therefore represents the potential reduction in reservoir size that could be achieved by the new system.


pneumatic valve design


Anti-lock braking system

heavy vehicle



slip control


Jonathan Miller

Leon Henderson

Chalmers, Applied Mechanics, Vehicle Engineering and Autonomous Systems

David Cebon

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering

0954-4070 (ISSN)

Vol. 227 8 1715-1729

Subject Categories

Vehicle Engineering

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