Invention Geek – Anti-Lock Brakes?Posted by Invention Geek - 04/03/11 at 09:03 am
Question from Julie S.:
Were anti-lock brakes really made for airplanes first? If so, who got the idea to put them on cars & when was it first done successfully (for consumers to use)?
Yes, the first anti-lock brakes were made for airplanes. They were developed for use in planes by a French airplane and automobile builder, Gabriel Voisin, in 1929.
In 1958, a motorcycle was used to test a version of anti-lock brakes. The test was a success and showed that the new brakes reduced stopping distances on slippery surfaces and stop skidding. But the motorcycle company saw no future in anti-lock brakes and did not invest in the idea.
In the 1960s, completely mechanical brakes were used in racecars and an experimental all wheel-drive Ford. The mechanical system was very expensive and not reliable.
In 1971, a computerized system was introduced. Chrysler began producing its Imperial brand automobile with a computerized, three-channel, four-sensor all-wheel ABS named “Sure Brakes.” The same year General Motors offered the “Trackmaster” rear-wheel only ABS as an option on their rear-wheel drive Cadillacs.
In 1978, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class were produced with a new electronic 4-wheel multi-channel anti-lock brake system. These brakes were very similar to the anti-lock brakes found in modern cars.