Offered through SAE International

I.D.# C0315, Duration: 2 Days

Once reserved for high-end luxury vehicles, electronic brake control systems are quickly becoming standard equipment on even the most inexpensive cars and trucks. Today, nearly every new vehicle benefits from the optimized braking, enhanced acceleration, or improved stability that these systems provide. This comprehensive seminar introduces participants to the system-level design considerations, vehicle interface requirements, and inevitable performance compromises that must be addressed when implementing these technologies.

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This course is also available in a self-study e-Seminar!

The seminar begins by defining the tire-road interface and analyzing fundamental vehicle dynamics. Following an in-depth study of system electronics, hydraulic hardware, and sensor requirements, the participants learn about the control strategies employed by anti-lock brakes (ABS), dynamic rear proportioning (DRP), traction control (TCS), and electronic stability control (ESC) with strong emphasis placed on vehicle dynamic response. The seminar concludes with a study of unique applications, industry trends, and a look forward to advanced brake control system integration. Over 500 pages of detailed course notes and illustrations are provided for on-the-job reference.

This course has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) for 13 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Upon completion of this seminar, accredited reconstructionists should contact ACTAR, 800-809-3818, to request CEUs. As an ACTAR approved course, the fee for CEUs is reduced.

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Analyze brake system design parameters and their vehicle performance effects
  • Evaluate the compromises between stability, steerability, and stopping distance
  • Discern the discrete mechanical components required for ABS
  • Specify fundamental ABS performance attributes
  • Estimate dynamic brake balance and explain the benefits of DRP
  • Reconcile TCS performance expectations vs. method of implementation
  • Interpret ESC metrics and ultimate dynamic limitations
  • Discuss opportunities for advanced brake control system integration

Who Should Attend
This course has been developed for engineers involved in all fields related to the design or development of vehicle dynamics, vehicle braking systems, powertrain systems, chassis systems, or suspension systems. In addition, this course can be valuable to those with component design responsibilities in brake, chassis, suspension, or tire disciplines.

Individuals new to the field of brake control systems will benefit most from the material; this introductory course is not intended for individuals with significant experience with brake control systems. In addition, please note that because of proprietary considerations this class does not provide details of algorithm design, algorithm performance, or algorithm application. Instead, the course places strong emphasis on vehicle dynamic responses.

An undergraduate engineering degree or a strong technical background is highly recommended. A basic knowledge of college algebra, college physics, and a familiarity with vehicle brake and suspension systems is required.

Seminar Content


  • Tire-Road Interface Characteristics
    • Defining slip
    • Longitudinal mu-slip relationship
    • Longitudinal vs. lateral slip capacity
    • The friction circle
  • Hydraulic Brake System Overview
    • What do braking systems do?
    • How does each component contribute?
    • What are the underlying fundamental relationships?
    • How does this apply to brake control systems?
  • Stability, Steerability, Stopping Distance
    • Define stability, steerability, stopping distance
    • Illustrate with mu-slip curves
    • Illustrate with friction circle
  • Mechanization of ABS
    • ECU functions and components
    • HCU functions and components
    • ABS hold, release, and apply functions
    • Diagnostics and warning lamp considerations
  • ABS Sensor Overview
    • The role of sensors
    • Wheel speed sensors
    • Brake apply state sensors
    • Longitudinal accelerometers
  • ABS Performance
    • ABS objectives and strategies
    • Basics of ABS wheel control
    • ABS performance on homogeneous surfaces
    • ABS performance under other conditions


  • DRP Performance
    • Weight transfer and brake proportioning
    • Proportioning valve design and performance
    • DRP strategies, wheel control, and performance
    • DRP benefits, design compromises, and limitations
  • Mechanization of TCS and ESC
    • Additional ECU functions and components
    • Additional HCU functions and components
    • Pressure build sequence
  • TCS and ESC Sensor Requirements
    • The role of sensors
    • Steering angle sensors
    • Brake pressure sensors
    • Lateral accelerometers and yaw rate sensors
  • TCS Performance
    • TCS objectives and strategies
    • Basics of TCS wheel control
    • TCS performance under various conditions
    • Driveline architecture interactions
  • ESC Performance
    • The physics of turning
    • ESC objectives and strategies
    • Basics of ESC wheel control
    • ESC performance
    • Driveline architecture
  • Special Conditions and Considerations
    • 4x4 and off-road considerations
    • Racing and high-performance considerations
    • Impact of vehicle modifications
  • Advanced Integration
    • Adaptive cruise control (ACC)
    • Panic brake assist (PBA)
    • Brake-by-wire (BBW)
  • Learning Assessment

Instructor: James Walker, Jr.
James Walker, Jr. is currently a Principal Engineer specializing in chassis, brake, and electronic brake control systems at Carr Engineering, Inc. His prior professional experience includes brake control system development, design, release, and application engineering at Kelsey-Hayes, Saturn Corporation, General Motors, Bosch, Ford Motor Company, and Delphi.

Mr. Walker created scR motorsports consulting in 1997, and subsequently competed in seven years of SCCA Club Racing in the Showroom Stock and Improved Touring categories. Through scR motorsports, he has been actively serving as an industry advisor to Kettering University in the fields of brake system design and brake control systems. Since 2001, he has served as a brake control system consultant for StopTech, a manufacturer of high-performance racing brake systems. In addition to providing freelance material to multiple automotive publications focusing on chassis and brake technology, Mr. Walker is the author of the book High-Performance Brake Systems: Design, Selection, and Installation. In 2005, he was presented with the SAE International Forest R. McFarland Award for distinction in professional development and education. He obtained his B.S.M.E. in 1994 from GMI Engineering & Management Institute.

1.3 CEUs


"Forget any general idea you may have about brakes; this class introduces the complexity of the brake control systems and the engineering design that goes into it."
Tim Lowe
Quality Engineering Powertrain
Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky

"This was an excellent technical description of all SCS systems, even for experienced engineers."
Alexandre Evrard
Product Engineer
TRW Automotive

"Very good introduction to brake control systems. Our class had many different levels of knowledge coming into the class. I believe everyone was able to come away with new knowledge and understanding."
Kevin Adams
Staff Engineer
Honda of America Mfg., Inc.

"Very technical while at the same time easy to understand."
Ronald Chapp
Senior Engineer

"Outstanding! I was completely impressed with the instructor and his ease in explaining difficult material in a timely and entertaining manner."
Christopher Thibeault
Market Development Engineer
ST Microelectronics

"I would recommend this course to all that are involved in the design of these products."
Ted Davis
Business Manager

"The instructor is very dynamic and interesting to learn from. The course content is well presented and was very informative."
John J. Kaufman
Design Engineer
Caterpillar, Inc.

"A well presented, comprehensive introduction to braking control systems."
Mark Rushton
Homologation Engineer
Vehicle Certification Agency

Click Here to Register and to See All Available Dates/Locations

Click Here for More About the Self-Study e-Seminar Program

Upcoming Seminars

Have You Read It?

The Book

Yes, in fact we did write the book on brakes, thank you very much...

High-Performance Brake Systems: Design, Selection, and Installation by Author James Walker, Jr.