A car equipped with a brake assist system has electronic components that monitor the speed with which the brake is applied. A small computer keeps track of how you typically apply the brake as you drive the car, both how quickly and how firmly, and learns what your particular pattern is.

As it builds up the information, it is able to recognize when you have applied the brakes much faster than usual, and interprets that this is a result of a critical situation and automatically triggers the brake assist system.

  When the system is triggered, it immediately factors in brake wear and current speed to determine the amount of force that is needed to stop the car.

Traditional power brakes would then initiate a vacuum to boost the force of the brakes. In contrast to this, a brake assist system has an electric pump which allows it to store highly pressurized brake fluid in a reservoir adjacent to the brakes. When the system is triggered, the brake assist electronics will then release varying amounts of this brake fluid within milliseconds to help the car stop quickly.

When the driver releases the brake pedal, the brake assist system releases the pressurized brake fluid and automatically goes back on standby. This fluid allows the brakes to be applied fully in a fraction of a second, significantly faster than the human reaction time would ordinarily achieve.

See the diagram of what happens when.

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