Remember back when brakes were just brakes? A cable-actuated drum arrangement, or a hydraulic-actuated disc assembly. Those days are long gone now, as manufacturers pursue electronically-managed safety systems. For the latest proof of that, check out this news: Brembo is opening a “center of excellence” in Silicon Valley.

Brembo, of course, is based in Italy, with manufacturing facilities in other countries (including Indian subsidiary ByBre). So why is it looking to start an outpost in California? The answer lies in the press release:

The opening of Brembo’s first center of excellence is a step forward in the path to become a trusted Solution Provider and accelerates the digitalization of the company, one of the key objectives of the strategic vision, Turning Energy into Inspiration …

Later in the press release, Brembo bigwig Daniele Schillaci says:

“We are in an era of data science and the application of artificial intelligence, which offers us a great opportunity to build our future and strengthen our technological leadership. With the Brembo Inspiration Lab we accept the challenge to increase the company’s digital culture and to bring ‘Made in Brembo’ innovation even closer to our partners.”

Cutting away the CorporateSpeak, here’s what’s going on: Brembo appears to be headed towards the business of electronic safety tech.

Brembo already has a brake-by-wire system for cars. If it can integrate that tech with other data about traffic, vehicle dynamics and drivers’ habits, Brembo would have the ability to build extremely powerful next-generation braking systems, far beyond anything on the market today.

That info on driver’s habits is already available, floating around the Interwebz. It’s a dirty secret your cell phone company might not want you to know, but your phone is able to harness a considerable amount of data from built-in accelerometers. Pair that tech with easily-available traffic data and other notes from Big Brother’s files, and you can build very, very powerful AI-enabled braking systems, along with many other things.

And, Brembo is likely not the only company doing this. Bosch and Continental, two other Euro companies best-known for hard parts production over their history, have basically taken over the motorcycle safety electronics industry in recent years. If Brembo joins them, it’s just one more player at the party.

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