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What You Need to Know About the Autonomous Emergency Brake (AEB)?

Experts In This Article

About the Autonomous Emergency BrakeAs convenient as motor vehicle travel is, it has always carried risks. Thankfully, the longer vehicles have been around, the safer they have become. Automakers and technology gurus are always searching for ways to make cars safer and more convenient for drivers on the road.

One of the newest and most substantial improvements is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). The AEB is so noteworthy that many auto industry experts call it the most significant safety feature for preventing fatalities since the introduction of seatbelts and airbags to the modern vehicle.

Volvo became the first to fit AEB as standard on all new models in 2014, and the Jaguar Land Rover was the second in 2016. Studies have shown AEB to decrease front impact crash rates by 27 percent. Its effectiveness at preventing pedestrian fatalities was 44 percent. It reduced injuries due to impact by the front of a car by 33 percent, identical to the percentage reduction for collisions with road obstacles.

The AEB system is considered an effective active safety system for preventing many rear-end and pedestrian crashes. It’s an advanced assistance system intended to automatically identify pending crashes and react by activating the brakes. This system functions by camera recognition of an object, such as a vehicle, bicycle, person, or anything else in front of the vehicle.

What Is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)?

AEB safety technology is a collision-avoidance system that brings the vehicle to a complete stop without the active assistance of the driver. Using radar, cameras, and LiDAR, the AEB system considers the road and traffic conditions and what is ahead of the vehicle. It will automatically apply the brake if the driver doesn’t stop quickly, safely, or appropriately.

How AEB Works?

AEB technology relies on various technologies to screen the immediate driving environment in front of the vehicle. If any possible hazards appear, the AEB should warn the driver. If the driver doesn’t respond appropriately to avoid the threat, the AEB system will automatically apply the vehicle’s brakes to prevent the crash or, if the car can’t avoid it, at least it can help lessen the impact and thereby decrease the risk of injury, fatalities, and property damage.

The technology depends on the vehicle’s make, model, and year. However, most AEB systems use radar, camera, laser, or a combination of all technologies.

This smart system also identifies how hard the brake force needs to be, accounting for the type or size of the potential hazard and the current speed of the vehicle. The force can be a full braking force, causing the car to stop suddenly, or a lesser force, simply decreasing the speed to circumvent a crash. However, not all AEB systems are the same.

Different systems function in different ways to react to various dangers. For example, some systems are more effective in urban areas where vehicles travel at lower speeds, while others are better for handling rural or multi-lane driving and interstate conditions.

What Is LiDAR?

LiDAR is an acronym for “light detection and ranging.” It uses technology with infrared light or lasers to generate a three-dimensional image of a specific environment. NASA originally developed this technology to monitor the positions and paths of satellites in space. However, as LiDAR technology scaled down but continued to advance, new terrestrial-based applications developed in automotive safety technology and autonomous vehicle systems.

LiDAR’s job in AEB technology is to act as a vehicle’s eyes, always seeing in all directions. With a real-time ability to map surroundings in 360 degrees, LiDAR assists AEB-equipped vehicles in identifying objects on or near the roadway to prevent crashes with other vehicles or objects such as poles or trees, cyclists, pedestrians, and animals, whether they are moving or stationary.

Unnecessary Automatic Emergency Braking

AEB systems aren’t perfect. They can fail, and they can go off in unnecessary situations. For example, expert independent vehicle reviewers have experienced various false alerts with AEB technology on several different types of vehicles.

Situations that cause the AEB system to falsely activate include:

  • Shadows on the road make the system think an object is ahead.
  • Vehicles parked in the middle of a curve on the side of a road
  • Metal road signs mounted in the middle of a curve on the side of a road
  • Steep driveways
  • Bridges
  • Railroad tracks
  • Parking garages
  • Steam from underground pipes/utility holes (more common in large cities)
  • Rain, fog, and snow can make safety systems less likely to perform as expected.

The Significance of AEB Technology

The AEB system is significant because it not only decreases the car’s speed immediately preceding or during a collision and reduces the severity of impact, but it can also completely stop some collisions from occurring.

The research institute Thatcham states that the AEB is “probably the most significant development in car safety since the seatbelt.” What is different about this technology is that while the vehicle’s seatbelts or airbags protect motorists and their passengers in a crash, the AEB system decreases the chances of the collision happening.

How Effective are Automatic Emergency Braking Systems?

Studies conducted throughout Europe, the United States, and other countries consistently reveal that AEB is one of the most effective collision-avoidance technologies a vehicle can have on board.

One of the most recent studies, conducted in April 2019 by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), found:

  • A 50 percent decrease in front-to-rear collisions for vehicles with forward-collision warning and AEB
  • A 56 percent decrease in front-to-rear crashes with injuries
  • There is a 78-percent decrease in collisions with reverse automatic braking systems compared to vehicles equipped only with a reversing camera and parking sensors.

Other Collision Avoidance Systems

Collision-avoidance systems are vehicle safety systems designed to help prevent crashes with other vehicles, objects, pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals. It’s crucial to be aware of these systems and how they work if you drive a vehicle equipped with them.

Examples of other collision-avoidance systems include:

  • Forward collision warning (FCW): While the car is in a forward motion, the FCW senses possible collision risks and immediately alerts the driver. Some systems also detect pedestrians and other objects.
  • High-speed automatic emergency braking (HAEB): HAEB is automatic braking on a vehicle to avoid or decrease the impact’s severity while the car travels at increased speeds.
  • Front-cross traffic system (FCTS): Uses sensors to sense vehicles in front of it
  • Active cruise control (ACC): This technology adjusts the vehicle’s acceleration and braking to maintain a safe distance between it and the vehicle in front of it.
  • Pedestrian detection (PD): Senses if there are nearby pedestrians, issues a warning sound, and implements automatic braking if the vehicle gets within a set proximity of a pedestrian.
  • Lane departure warning (LDW): Tracks the vehicle’s position within its single traffic lane and alerts the driver if their vehicle closely approaches lane markers.
  • Lane-keeping assistance (LKA): Helps maintain steady steering within the vehicle’s traffic lane.

Is AEB Available in All Vehicles?

AEB technology is common across all makes, models, and price classes of vehicles. An agreement between automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that by September 1, 2022, almost all new vehicles sold in the U.S. will have the technology as standard equipment.

In fact, a voluntary commitment assisted by IIHS and the NHTSA, 12 out of 20 major automakers equipped almost all the light vehicles they manufactured for the U.S. market with AEB in 2021.

Many steps are underway to ensure that AEB becomes a standard feature on all vehicles shortly. The most vigorous efforts to achieve this are happening in European vehicles; however, it’s the hope of automotive safety experts that this innovative life-saving technology will become standard for all new vehicles, no matter where they are made or sold.

Liability and AEB Systems

You might wonder who is liable for a collision if the at-fault driver’s vehicle had AEB. The answer is likely complex and can depend on many details specific to the accident. An AEB system is not a substitute for active driving. Drivers with AEB technology onboard their vehicles must still abide by the same standards of care as all other drivers.

If an investigation reveals that something went wrong with the AEB system that might have contributed to the cause of the accident, another party might share some fault. For example, the automaker or the manufacturer of the AEB system can be to blame if they manufacture a defective product.

The good news is that if you suffered an injury in an accident, you don’t need to determine who was at fault. When you hire a seasoned accident attorney, they will perform a comprehensive investigation, enlisting the help of private investigators and accident reconstructionists to determine how your accident happened and what parties are liable for compensating you for your damages.

Signs Your AEB is Faulty or Might Need Repair

No technology is perfect. If you have AEB technology on your vehicle, it’s essential to understand that it might fail or need repair. You should be aware of a few signs that may indicate your vehicle’s automatic emergency braking system is faulty, and a technician should repair it.

If you experience any of these issues, take it to a trusted technician or your dealership right away to avoid any hazards.

  • Stalling: If the vehicle slows down unexpectedly without you applying the brakes and there are no obstacles in front of it, there is likely a problem. If the vehicle is traveling under 10-15 miles per hour, the AEB should not activate. Stalling may be due to a defective AEB.
  • Sudden stops: If the car stops abruptly without you doing anything to cause the stop, the AEB sensor may be defective or obscured. Under normal circumstances, if the sensor perceives an obstruction straight ahead and the vehicle goes over 15 miles per hour, it will brake suddenly to prevent a possible collision. A defective sensor can result in false positives, causing the vehicle’s AEB system to go off unexpectedly.
  • Difficulty starting the vehicle: If your vehicle has trouble starting up, it can be due to an AEB problem turning the vehicle off because it falsely anticipates a crash. This is most likely the case if the engine turns on normally but shuts right back off after a few seconds.

Always seek professional vehicle help if you are experiencing these problems or others. It’s your responsibility as a driver to ensure that your vehicle is safe and maintained.

Responsible Driving Matters

Even if you drive a vehicle with AEB, you shouldn’t simply rely on it for your braking or assume that it will work so you can drive any way you want. Car manufacturers design vehicle safety features to help prevent a motor vehicle accident; they aren’t a substitute for safe driving.

Responsible drivers must always remember to drive defensively. This involves observation, anticipating what might come, and control to help you be ready for the unexpected. Always be aware of your surroundings while behind the wheel and put on your seatbelt. AEB is not an excuse to drive while distracted.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

Suppose you or a loved one were involved in a motor vehicle accident. In that case, contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately. You can only exercise your legal rights under the law within a specific time.

You deserve compensation for what you have gone through and the expenses your injuries incur. Well-versed car accident attorneys often have years of legal experience helping people file auto insurance claims.

A car accident lawyer can seek total monetary compensation for your medical bills, necessary future medical treatments, loss of wages and income, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Contact a car accident lawyer today to discuss your legal options in greater detail and learn what you might recover by taking action.

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