Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems will soon be a reality for many U.S. drivers. It comes after a concerted campaign by road safety campaigners across the world together with the United Nations.
Most new cars sold in the U.S. will have AEB featured as standard from September 2022 after 20 car manufacturers pledged to do so. Currently, AEB systems are available as an optional extra on some vehicles only, despite the technology being used in some cars since 2006.
How effective are automatic emergency braking systems?
According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), cars that have AEB experienced:
43% fewer front to rear crashes
64% fewer front to rear crashes with injuries
The figures speak for themselves. Any technology that can increase safety so significantly is a good thing.
How does AEB work?
AEB uses a series of sensors to judge the distance you are from the vehicle in front. When the system thinks you are getting dangerously close, it beeps at you and puts a warning light on.
You should see the light or hear the sound and react by braking. If the system thinks you are not braking enough, it will automatically apply additional pressure. It is called dynamic brake support (DBS). If the system realizes you have not responded to its warning, it will apply the brakes for you. That is known as crash imminent braking (CIB).
It will take many more years before all the vehicles on the road carry this technology. People hang onto old cars for a long time. Even then, it will not entirely eradicate rear-end collisions. Until someone invents a technology that does, injuries such as whiplash will always be a possibility.