Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) - What Is It & How Does It Work?
Corner Park Garages, Swansea and Cardiff
July 15, 2019 at 1:55 PM
AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) is a car safety system that has been developed to help reduce the severity and speed of collisions and be able to prevent collisions entirely. Leading safety experts believe that AEB is the most important advance in safety technology since seat belts.
Collision avoidance systems have been around for a number of years. In 2008, Volvo released their pioneering City Safety technology in the XC60 which was initially developed to prevent whiplash and relatively minor injuries during urban driving at low speeds (from 2mph to 19mph).
Technology has evolved immensely in the past 10 years. AEB systems in modern cars are much smarter and can be used to detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as performing at much higher speeds.
How Does AEB Work?
AEB systems use lidar, radar, cameras or a combination of all three in conjunction with information about the car's own travel speed and direction to detect an impending crash on the road ahead.
If a potential collision is identified, most AEB systems will alert the driver by flashing a warning on the dashboard. If the driver fails to react and a collision is imminent, the system will automatically apply the brakes.
Some systems will apply the car's full braking force, whereas others will use the brakes to slow the car down - the intention is always to reduce the speed of the collision and the impact on those involved.
Lidar (light detection and ranging) systems use laser beams and light detection sensors to calculate the distance to the vehicle in front. Laser beams ping off objects in front and the sensors work out how close an object is and how quickly the space is reducing.
They are most effective at low speeds, being able to avoid collisions at speeds up to 15mph, while also being able to minimise the effects of a collision up to 25mph.
Radar systems work by using radio waves to detect the vehicle in front. They're more complex and expensive because they're more effective over longer distances. They can completely avoid collisions with stationary and moving vehicles up to 30mph.
Camera-based systems use video cameras in combination with recognition software that is more sophisticated and can classify potential hazards - is it another car, a pedestrian or a cyclist?
Manufacturers are increasingly using cameras to provide a full 360° view around the car to avoid a full range of obstacles. They are particularly helpful during parking or other low-speed manoeuvres.
COMBINATION OF SENSORS & CAMERAS
The combination of sensors and cameras is the most complete AEB system. A radar is good at identifying where something is and monitoring the road ahead, whereas cameras can detect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.
Algorithms can then be introduced to the technology to predict where the object is moving - the best AEB systems can tell the difference between a vehicle, a bike and a person and can understand that they behave differently.
Why Is AEB Important?
While seat belts can help protect people in the event of a collision, AEB can reduce the speed at which the collision happens and has the potential to prevent the crash from happening at all.
Research conducted by Thatcham Research shows that 75% of all collisions occur in urban driving environments at speeds less than 25mph. Even the simplest AEB systems are able to lessen the impact of crashes up to 25mph and could prevent a collision entirely when speeds are reduced to 15mph.
In fact, cars fitted with AEB saw a 38% reduction in rear-end crashes. Using the Volkswagen Golf Mk6 and Mk7 models - the newer version has AEB fitted as standard to all but the entry level 'S' trim - Thatcham conducted their own research. They found that there was a 45% reduction in crashes where injuries occurred for people driving Mk7 models.
In the US, a study by the insurance industry found that the frequency of repair damage claims to cars involved in a collision with cars fitted with AEB systems were reduced by 10-14%.
The evidence is already there - AEB systems save lives. In a provisional deal reached with EU ministers in March 2018, all new cars will have to be fitted with an advanced emergency braking system from May 2022.
What Cars Have Automatic Braking Systems?
The adoption of AEB systems is slowly gathering pace. Thatcham estimates that around 41% of cars on sale in the UK have AEB fitted as standard or on the options list. This is likely to rapidly increase because it is now a requirement to have AEB as standard to get a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
In 2014, Volvo became the first manufacturer to fit AEB as standard on all their new models. They were followed in 2016 by Jaguar Land Rover. Most car makers have developed automatic braking systems; however, they aren't deployed across their entire range.
If you're looking for a new car, you can check which models come with an AEB system using the Thatcham Research fitment tool. If you want a used car with AEB technology, you need to be aware of the various names manufacturers use for their systems:
|Manufacturer||AEB System Name|
|Citroen||Active City Brake|
|Fiat||City Brake Control|
|Ford||Active City Stop|
|Honda||City Brake Active|
|Hyundai||Autonomous Emergency Braking|
|Infiniti||Forward Collision Warning & Intelligent Brake Assist|
|Jaguar||Autonomous Emergency Braking|
|Jeep||Forward Collision Warning|
|Land Rover||Autonomous Emergency Braking|
|Mazda||Smart City Braking Support|
|Mercedes||Collision Prevention Assist|
|Mitsubishi||Forward Collision Mitigation|
|Nissan||Forward Emergency Braking|
|Peugeot||Active City Brake|
|Porsche||Porsche Active Safe|
|Range Rover||Autonomous Emergency Braking|
|Renault||Active Emergency Braking|
|Skoda||City Safe Drive|
|Suzuki||Radar Brake Support|
|Tesla||Automatic Emergency Braking|
|Vauxhall||Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Brake Intervention|
|Volkswagen||City Emergency Braking|