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

While the course is approximately ten hours in length, the estimated time to completion, including knowledge checks and the learning assessment is eleven hours.


By participating in this On Demand course, you will 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

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.

Is this On Demand Course for You?

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.

This course is equivalent to the classroom seminar, Introduction to Brake Control Systems: ABS, TCS, and ESC, and satisfies a requirement in both the Vehicle Dynamics and Accident Reconstruction Certificate Programs.

Have colleagues who need this course? See Special Offers to the right.

Click on the Requirements tab to make sure you are properly equipped to interact with this course.

For More Details

Email, or call 1-877-606-7323 (U.S. and Canada) or 724-776-4970 (outside US and Canada).

  • Module I: Tire-Road Interface Characteristics
  • Module II: Hydraulic Brake System Overview
  • Module III: Stability, Steerability, Stopping Distance
  • Module IV: Mechanization of ABS
  • Moudle V: ABS Sensor Overview
  • Module VI: ABS Performance
  • Module VII: DRP Performance
  • Module VIII: Mechanization of TCS and ESC
  • Module IX: TCS Performance
  • Module X: ESC Sensor Requirements
  • Module XI: ESC Performance
  • Module XII: Additional Features and Functionality
  • Module XIII: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 126

  • Windows 7, 8, 10 (other operating systems and mobile platforms are not supported but may work)
  • Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla Firefox 37, Google Chrome 42 (other browsers are not supported)
  • Broadband-1Mbps minimum

Joe J. Doe
James E. Walker

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 High-Performance Brake Systems: Design, Selection, and Installation. In 2005, he was presented with the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award for distinction in professional development and education and in 2010, he was awarded the SAE Master Instructor designation. Mr. Walker obtained his B.S.M.E. in 1994 from GMI Engineering & Management Institute.

1.1 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

Access Period:90 Days

Duration: 10 Hours
Members save up to 20% off list price.
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Special Offers:

Have colleagues who need this course? Purchase access for one individual at the appropriate member or list price, then purchase access for up to four additional employees at 10% off the list price. Contact SAE Customer Service to arrange online access for all individuals at the same time or mention the confirmation number for the first purchase. The offer is good for only the same on demand course. All participants will receive a personal account and opportunity for CEUs.


Quantity discounts for six or more students and corporate access options also are available - complete a Corporate Learning Solutions Request Form for a quote.