What is autonomous emergency braking?
In the past, car manufacturers concentrated on making cars safer for the occupants in case there was an accident. So over the years, seat belts, airbags, ABS and crumple zones have all been developed to protect drivers and passengers as much as possible from serious injury.
Now, the focus is on creating a car braking system that stops the accident from happening in the first place. This is autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, known as Thatcham Research
, have estimated AEB could prevent over 120,000 casualties and up to 1,100 fatalities between 2015 and 2025.
How does AEB work?
AEB uses different technologies to monitor what's in front and around the vehicle. If it senses that a driver isn't reacting quickly enough to a potential collision, it automatically applies the brakes to stop the vehicle. This often avoids the collision altogether or lessens the impact.
Autonomous emergency braking uses one or a combination of three different technologies to work out when to apply the brakes – Lidar, Radar and Camera.
use light to detect the distance to the car in front. They work over short distances and are particularly effective at avoiding collisions at speeds of between 15 and 25 mph.
use radio waves to detect the vehicle in front, and are more effective over greater distances. This means they're capable of avoiding a collision with a stationary vehicle when you're travelling up to 30 mph.
are able to detect a potential road problem and work out what type of problem it is. So, for example they can tell the difference between a pedestrian and a stationary vehicle. These systems are useful for avoiding collisions when parking.
What AEB system is best?
You can't buy an AEB system to fit to your existing car, as the manufacturer fits them during production. Some manufacturers offer the system as standard; whilst with others you can purchase it as an optional extra.
Autonomous emergency braking will sometimes come bundled with other safety systems such as Forward Collision Warning that detects obstacles in the road when you're driving at speed.
It's therefore down to the type of car you choose to buy, what type of system the manufacturer provides and whether you wish to pay for additional safety features.
Research shows us that 75% of collisions
take place when cars are travelling at less than 25 mph, so-called ‘city’ driving. That's why many car manufacturers offer a system that works most effectively in stop/start traffic conditions.