It looks like Shimano are set to throw their hat into the ABS (anti-lock braking) ring, having sneakily filed a patent for the technology back in January.
We've already seen ABS for e-bikes from Bosch and Blubrake, and the big advantage of it is that it prevents the front wheels from locking up under braking and the wheels lifting off - it will also stop you from performing epic skids, which you may or may not think is a good thing...
Shimano's patent, filed in January, suggests the Japanese component giant will be launching their own system in the not-too-distant-future. The patent text is simply titled 'Brake Control Device and Brake System', and says the product will apply to “a vehicle that at least partially uses human force as a prime mover for travelling, and includes vehicles that assist human force with electric power"; we're interpreting this as that it's primarily for e-bikes, but could be used on non-assisted bikes with hydraulic brakes too: "The braking device and the operating device can be fluidly connected or can be electrically connected", says the patent text.
A light emitter that transmits light to the road surface and a GPS sensor is also mentioned, although we're not too sure how Shimano could ensure GPS would be accurate enough to determine when the ABS should be applied in areas where the signal is poor.
Further evidence of the system's suitability for a number of bike types/configurations can be found near the end of the text: "The braking device and the operating device can be mechanically connected or can be electrically connected. In the first example and the second example, the braking units, the actuator, and the electric driving unit can be arranged in one housing or can be individually arranged in the human-powered vehicle."
It all sounds intriguing, and we'll be getting onto the folks at Shimano to ask them when the patent might turn into reality! What do you think?