The benefits of Autonomous Emergency Braking
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If you’re a regular motorway user, you’ve likely seen the aftermath of a nose-to-tail crash. In recent years, the advancements made in vehicle safety have been significant with a focus on active collision avoidance technologies to put an end to, or at least minimise nose-to-tail accidents.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) has been a key part of that. AEB is a feature that alerts a driver to an imminent crash and helps them use the maximum braking capacity of their vehicle.
Full AEB will independently apply the brakes if the situation becomes critical and the driver hasn’t braked. The aim is to reduce the impact or eliminate an accident altogether.
Real-world data suggests AEB can reduce crashes by up to 27 per cent and Ancap would like to see this life-saving technology become a mandatory requirement for all new vehicles sold in New Zealand.
Typically, AEB comes in three categories:
Low speed system (city) — this works at lower speeds on the city streets to detect other vehicles in front of your car to prevent crashes and non-life threatening injuries such as whiplash.
Higher speed system (inter-urban) — this scans up to 200m ahead using long range radar at higher speeds.
Pedestrian system — this detects pedestrian movement in relation to the path of the vehicle, helping to determine the risk of collision.
Front collision warning systems can vary between different manufacturers and in some cases, even the different models. Some vehicles also feature two or more AEB systems.
AEB technology coupled with adaptive cruise control is simply magic for motorway driving and even better in peak hour traffic. Once you have set the following distance, the car does the rest to maintain a safe presence behind the car in front. Most cars with this feature will have at least three following distances to choose from.
Great technology, right? The only issue is the aggressive NZ motorist. You know, the one who cuts into the gap you’ve purposely left for a safe following distance? If a car cuts in front of you, the AEB may apply the brakes to avoid a collision to maintain a safe gap.
If your car is equipped with AEB and traffic grinds to a sudden halt, you might hear or see the warning lights and in some cases the brakes may be applied before you even get a chance to react yourself.
In most cases, the car is faster than the foot and AEB has probably been quite the hero in avoiding nose-to-tails crashes.