New York State In-depth

At intersections, emergency braking false security

{New research from AAA has found that Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is a security system advertised by manufacturers as lifesaving crash-prevention technology, has difficulty with high speed and fails at intersections – two of the most dangerous situations that drivers are faced with. The announcement is coming as 20 automakers that represent more than 99% of the U.S. market pledge to put AEB standard equipment on all their new vehicles. 83% of 2022 model year vehicles fitted with this technology as standard. 
{“Automatic Emergency Braking is exceptional at preventing collisions with fenders,” said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs at AAA. “Here’s the problem: It’s commonly marketed as something that can save lives, even while testing reveals it can’t yet handle faster, more realistic speeds or the situations we encounter on the roadways every, single time we drive. ” 

The Issue 

{AEB uses forward-facing cameras and other sensors to automatically alert the driver and apply brakes when a collision is imminent. It helps prevent rear-end collisions at slower speeds, as per an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study which found that vehicles fitted with AEB showed an increase of 50% in rear-end crashes that were reported by police, compared with non-equipped vehicles. 

{The technology has been refined over the years by upgrading the hardware and the software. AAA was looking to determine if the most recent generation of AEB can handle higher speeds and detect moving vehicles in its path at intersections, particularly when confronted with T-bone and unprotected left turn scenarios. Together, these crash types comprised nearly 40% of the fatalities involving two passenger vehicles from 2016 through 2020. 

What AAA Tested 

* AEB rear-end crash performance when an unmoving vehicle at speeds between 30 and 40 mph. 

* AEB performance when faced with automobiles moving in collision situations involving an intersection – T-bone and left turns that aren’t protected (test car turning left ahead of an oncoming car). 

The Results 

{* At 30 mph, AEB prevented a rear-end collision during 17 of 20 test runs, which is 85 percent of the time. For the test runs that resulted in an accident, the impact speed was reduced by 86 %. 


{* At 40 mph, AEB only prevented a rear-end crash in 6 out of 20 test runs, or 30% of the time. For test runs that caused a crash, the impact speed was reduced by 62 %. 

{* In both the T-bone and left-turn tests crashes were reported 100% of the time. AEB failed to alert the driver, slow down the vehicle’s speed or avoid the crash. 

What’s Next 

AAA strongly urges regulators and automakers to focus on system design and test protocols to better handle the kinds of crashes that cause fatalities and injuries are the norm. 

{Automakers must improve AEB systems to aid drivers in crash scenarios involving intersections. Automakers should incorporate AEB systems as standard equipment on all of their makes and models. 

{Drivers must recognize the AEB system’s limitations, and stay engaged when behind the wheel. 

“Today’s research makes it clear: While automated technology can make you a safer driver however, it isn’t able to save your life – so regardless of how intelligent you think your vehicle is, you have to remain vigilant,” McKinley said. 

{AAA selected four vehicles to test, selecting two of each driver monitoring design type, camera-equipped and input via the steering wheel. AAA does not rate vehicle performance. The cars were as the following: 

* 2022 Chevrolet Equinox LT with “Chevy Safety Assist” 
* 2022 Ford Explorer XLT with “Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking” 
* 2022 Honda CR-V Touring with “Honda Sensing” 
* 2022 Toyota RAV4 LE with “Toyota Sensing” 

{The vehicles were procured directly from the manufacture or specialty rental fleets. To ensure the correct functioning of the AEB system all vehicles were serviced at dealerships. Please refer to the complete report for methodology details with specific test equipment as well as test track characteristics.

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