Autonomous Emergency Braking Doesn’t Work at Normal Speeds: Report

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) may be effective at slow speeds, but at normal speeds, it is ineffective, the American automobile Association (AAA) concludes in its study.

From September 2022, all new cars sold in the United States must include AEB, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid a collision, using cameras and various sensors. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, AEB can help prevent 28,000 accidents and 12,000 injuries by 2025.

AAA tested the AEB system using four common vehicles to see its evolution since its debut almost 20 years ago. The vehicles were:

  • 2022 Chevrolet Equinox LT
  • 2022 Ford Explorer XLT
  • 2022 Honda CR-V Touring
  • 2022 Toyota RAV4 LE

The study did not yield favorable results. It failed to prevent 100% of AAA-staged crashes in both door side crashes and left turns in front of oncoming vehicle tests. In addition, the system failed to alert the driver and slow the speed. Between 2016 and 2020, these collisions made up nearly 40% of total fatalities, which is an alarming statistic.

In the rear-end test, AEB prevented 85% of collisions at 48 kilometers per hour. However, at 65 kilometers per hour, it only prevented 30 percent of the rear-end collisions.

Director of AAA’s automotive engineering and industry relations, Greg Brannon stated:

Automatic Emergency Braking does well at tackling the limited task it was designed to do. Unfortunately, that task was drawn up years ago, and regulator’s slow-speed crash standards haven’t evolved.

AEB has proven useful in reducing low-speed rear-end crashes over the years. However, AAA wanted to see how well it performs in T-bone collisions and left turns in front of oncoming vehicles.

AAA found the same weaknesses in the AEB system and other driver-assist features in 2019. It has advised automakers to use these revelations to further strengthen their automated driver assist systems.

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