An Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) saves lives, not just on motorcycles but even on cars. A Mahindra XUV500 put to test under various hard-braking conditions including an emergency swerve on a wet surface demonstrates exactly why ABS is such a critical safety feature that every automobile needs to have as standard. The good news is that the Indian government has made ABS mandatory on all two-wheelers sold in India with engine capacity over 125 cc from April 2019. From October 2019, all cars sold in India will have to feature ABS as standard under the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNSAP). Meanwhile, watch the video. Please forward to 2:00 to directly start watching the XUV500 in action.
As the video reveals, the Mahindra XUV500 is braked under two conditions, once with ABS on and once with ABS off. When ABS is off, the vehicle goes into a skid when braked hard even in dry conditions, and despite the wheels locking, the braking distance is high.
With ABS on, braking distance in the dry reduces under hard braking. In the second maneuver in the wet, the XUV500 goes into a skid and is un-steerable when the ABS is off. Under the same conditions, the Mahindra XUV500 remains quite controllable when ABS is on, and is successfully steered around obstacles even under hard braking in the wet.
How does ABS work?
ABS ensures that wheels don’t lock even under extreme hard braking, irrespective of the surface or weather conditions. This is made possible by a combination of wheel-speed sensors and an electronic control unit that sits in between the brake lever and the the actual brakes of the car.
The wheel-speed sensors constantly monitor the speed of the wheel and relay it to the ECU. When the ECU detects a wheel or many wheels locking, it automatically reduces braking pressure to the concerned wheel(s) and ensures that they don’t lock. This prevents skidding and also allows the vehicle to be steered even under hard braking.
ABS reduces braking distance, and ensures that the vehicle remains under control, while emergency braking conditions, allowing it to be steered around obstacles. ABS is combined with electronic brake distribution in most modern cars to increase braking efficacy.