AA CAR CARE: The car tech that protects
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New vehicles are getting better at not only protecting occupants and other road users, but also at helping you to not ding or damage your prized set of wheels.
Because of this, carparks and driveways have the potential to be safer to navigate thanks to advanced autonomous features, in conjunction with multiple sensors, cameras and 3D viewing technology.
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Autonomous Emergency Braking, or AEB, uses a suite of sensors and cameras to detect pending impact and apply the brakes. High Speed AEB is the first and most common system adopted, with advancements over the last few years to allow low speed operation and increased scope of detection.
Low-speed or city AEB, which works from walking pace up to around 30km/h, generally uses a camera to keep an eye on the road ahead. Pedestrian systems can also detect people or cyclists.
In 2018 ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) started the testing of AEB with pedestrians and cyclist dummies, including how the system operates during the day and night. In 2020 the testing was extended to include AEB Junction (how a car detects a pedestrian or cyclist during a 90-degree turn) and AEB Backover, which tests reverse auto-braking systems.
In Australia, the government has announced that AEB will be mandated on all newly introduced light vehicle models from March 2023, and all new models on sale in Australia from March 2025. We are yet to see if New Zealand will follow.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Reverse/Backover AEB
These assist safety systems alert the driver if other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians are in danger of entering your path while reversing.
On vehicles equipped with advanced AEB systems, the same ultrasonic sensors used for parking can detect objects in the way or vehicles and pedestrians that may approach the car while reversing. If a collision appears likely, rear AEB comes into play, autonomously applying the brakes to avoid (or mitigate) the force of impact. These systems usually only work at low speeds.
Parking cameras are great, especially now vehicles have high definition, wide, touch or motion sensing infotainment screens with multi-camera views. On advanced systems you can view a 3D image of your vehicle and scroll around the perimeter to check the way is clear before moving away.
Called by many names, the ultimate parking assistant is something that lets you in and out of a parking spot while doing the steering (and sometimes acceleration/braking) for you.
How a typical system works
Ultrasonic sensors, located on the sides, and front/rear bumpers, search for parking spaces on either side of the road that are big enough to parallel park your vehicle.
Sensors search within 1.5 metres when you travel at up to 30km/h.
The sensors are always passively scanning spaces, so if you activate the system after you’ve just passed a good parking spot, it will let you know.
When a space is found, you’ll hear an alert and instructions will appear on your display screen telling you where to position the vehicle to begin the park.
During the active parking system operation, a combination of your vehicle’s electric power steering and sensors are used to autonomously steer the vehicle into place.
It’s important to note that these systems are designed to assist and not take the place of the driver, who must maintain control of the vehicle and be ready to act at any time.