Shock discovery: The automatic braking system does not work when it is most needed
Most new vehicles sold in Europe and America are equipped with automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard. However, new tests of the capabilities of this safety system have shown that it fails when it is most needed - at higher speeds.
Technology that uses radar, cameras or LiDAR to spot potentially dangerous situations has proven to be great at reducing the chance of rear-end collisions at lower speeds. However, problems arise at higher speeds, head-on collisions and at T intersections.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) tested the automatic emergency braking system in four vehicles (Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Toyota) at higher speeds. AAA tested the systems in two scenarios at T intersections, with vehicles going straight through the intersection encountering an oncoming vehicle, and a vehicle turning left entering the path of an oncoming vehicle.
These are actually the deadliest types of traffic accidents in America, accounting for 39.2 percent of all deaths in two-vehicle crashes, and the emergency braking system test results were very modest.
At a speed of 46 km/h, AEB prevented a rear-end collision in 17 out of 20 test drives, i.e. in 85% of cases. For the test drives where the crash occurred, the vehicle's speed was reduced by 86%. On the other hand, at 62 km/h, this system prevented an accident in only 6 out of 20 test drives, or about 30% of cases. For the crash test runs, the speed was reduced by 62%.
However, the biggest debacle of this system occurred in tests at T intersections, where collisions occurred 100% of the time. The automatic emergency braking system did not manage to warn the driver, slow down the vehicle's speed or avoid a collision.
As the HAK Review writes, because of these results, AAA recommends that car manufacturers focus on creating systems that will perform better in crashes where injuries and deaths are most likely. In addition, drivers should be aware of the limitations of their vehicles, i.e. they should know that despite all safety systems, they must be maximally focused on traffic and react in time.