Introduction to Brake Control Systems: ABS, TCS, and ESC

Course code: PD730501

Once reserved for high-end luxury vehicles, electronic brake control systems are now required 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 course introduces participants to the system-level design considerations, vehicle interface requirements, and inevitable performance compromises that must be addressed when implementing these technologies..

The course 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, 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 heavy emphasis placed on the resulting vehicle dynamics. The course concludes with a study of unique applications, a look forward to advanced brake control system integration, and an overview of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 126.

This course has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) for 11 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Upon completion of this seminar, accredited reconstructionists should mail a copy of their course certificate and the $5 student CEU fee to ACTAR, PO Box 1493, North Platte, NE 69103.


By participating in this on-demand course, you’ll be able to:

  • Analyze brake system design parameters and their vehicle performance effects
  • Evaluate the compromises between stability, steerability, and stopping distance
  • Identify the discrete mechanical components required for ABS
  • Specify fundamental ABS performance attributes
  • Calculate dynamic brake balance and explain the benefits of DRP
  • Reconcile TCS performance expectations vs. method of implementation
  • Define ESC performance metrics and physical limitations
  • Assess features such as adaptive cruise control and brake assist
  • Interpret federal requirements for the performance of ESC

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Course dates

Starting date: Upon request

Type: TOD

Course duration: 90 days

Language: en

Price without VAT: 765 EUR


Type Course
Language Price without VAT
Upon request TOD 90 days en 765 EUR Register
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Course structure

Module I: Tire-Road Interface Characteristics
[Total Run Time: 52 minutes]

  • Defining slip
  • Longitudinal mu-slip relationship
  • Lateral mu-slip relationship
  • The friction circle

Module II: Hydraulic Brake System Overview
[Total Run Time: 43 minutes]

  • What do braking systems do?
  • How does each component contribute?
  • What are the underlying fundamental relationships?
  • How does this apply to brake control systems?

Module III: Stability, Steerability, Stopping Distance
[Total Run Time: 20 minutes]

  • Stability
  • Steerability
  • Stopping Distance
  • Illustrate with friction circle

Module IV: Mechanization of ABS
[Total Run Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes]

  • ECU functions and components
  • HCU functions and components
  • ABS hold, release, and apply functions
  • Diagnostics and warning lamp considerations

Module V: ABS Sensor Overview
[Total Run Time: 36 minutes]

  • The role of sensors
  • Wheel speed sensors
  • Brake apply state sensors
  • Longitudinal accelerometers

Module VI: ABS Performance
[Total Run Time: 1 hour, 16 minutes]

  • ABS objectives and strategies
  • Basics of ABS wheel control
  • ABS performance on homogeneous surfaces
  • ABS performance under other conditions

Module VII: DRP Performance
[Total Run Time: 51 minutes]

  • Weight transfer and brake proportioning
  • Looking back: the proportioning valve
  • DRP strategies, wheel control, and performance
  • DRP benefits, design compromises, and limitations

Module VIII: Mechanization of TCS and ESC
[Total Run Time: 26 minutes]

  • Additional ECU functions and components
  • Additional HCU functions and components
  • Pressure build sequence

Module IX: TCS Performance
[Total Run Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes]

  • TCS objectives and strategies
  • Basics of TCS wheel control
  • TCS performance under various conditions
  • Driveline architecture interactions

Module X: ESC Sensor Requirements
[Total Run Time: 12 minutes]

  • The role of sensors
  • Steering angle sensors
  • Brake pressure sensors
  • Lateral accelerometers and yaw rate sensors

Module XI: ESC Performance
[Total Run Time: 1 hour, 8 minutes]

  • The physics of turning
  • ESC objectives
  • ESC strategies and basics of wheel control
  • ESC performance and driveline architecture

Module XII: Additional Features and Functionality
[Total Run Time: 24 minutes]

  • The evolution of control systems
  • What isn’t changing (for now, anyways)
  • Brake and chassis control systems
  • Adding radar and camera-based inputs

Module XIII: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 126
[Total Run Time: 18 minutes]

  • ESC definitional requirements
  • ESC dynamic performance test
  • Stability and responsiveness requirements
  • Industry rollout requirements
Materials Provided
  • 90 days of online single-user access (from date of purchase)  to the ten hour presentation
  • Online learning assessment (submit to SAE)
  • Course handbook (downloadable, .pdf’s)
  • Instructor follow up to your content questions
  • 1.1 CEUs*/Certificate of Achievement (upon completion of all course content and a score of 70% or higher on the learning assessment)

*SAE International is authorized by IACET to offer CEUs for this course.


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.

This course has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) for 10 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Upon completion of this seminar, accredited reconstructionists should mail a copy of their course certificate and the $5 student CEU fee to ACTAR, PO Box 1493, North Platte, NE 69103.

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