The advent of automatic emergency braking (AEB) has helped to prevent countless motor vehicle collisions throughout the United States. However, that initial success does not mean the manufacturers should just rest on their proverbial laurels.
Currently standard for a vast majority of new vehicles, AEB detects pedestrians and some, but not all bicycles, motorcycles, and larger animals. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that the combination of forward collision warning (FCW) and AEB reduces rear-end crashes by 50 percent.
Dangerously lacking effectiveness
However, tests conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) reveal that the technology is not doing enough to prevent crashes at higher speeds.
Not all AEB systems are the same. Technologically, experts claim that it is in its infancy, requiring drivers to be attentive while operating vehicles. Some fail to protect vehicle occupants when traveling at 40 miles per hour.
Even more alarming, not one version of this technology can prevent “T-bone” crashes that occur at intersections or left turns, potentially in the path of oncoming traffic. Those types of crashes represent nearly 40 percent of road fatalities, according to crash data analysis from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA).
Testing reveals problems
IIHS recently launched a nighttime test to identify the effectiveness of AEB systems detecting pedestrians at night. Results revealed the technology struggling to “see” moving passengers after dark, specifically those walking on roads with speed limits of 50 mph or higher or turning into a walker’s path.
While proponents cite AEB’s effectiveness in reducing a crash’s impact, more must be done to prevent possible severe and deadly motor vehicle collisions.