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At higher speeds, Emergency Breaking systems fail

{New research from AAA has revealed that Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is a safety device advertised by manufacturers as life-saving, technology to prevent crashes, fails when driving at high speeds, and fails at intersections – two of the most dangerous situations that drivers are faced with. The news is coming as 20 automakers that represent more than 90% of the U.S. market pledge to create AEB an integral feature of all new vehicles. This includes 83% of 2022 model year cars outfitted with the system as standard. 
{“Automatic Emergency Braking is a master at preventing fender benders,” said Skyler McKinley regional director of public affairs for 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 the brakes when a crash appears imminent. It prevents rear-end collisions when driving at lower speeds, as per an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study that found that vehicles equipped with AEB exhibited the same 50% reduction in rear-end collisions reported by police compared to non-equipped vehicles. 

{The technology has been refined over the years with upgraded hardware and software. AAA sought to determine if the latest version of AEB can handle higher speeds and identify moving vehicles at intersections, especially when presented with T-bone and left-turn scenarios that are not protected. Together, those crash types accounted for nearly 40% of fatalities that involved two vehicles from 2016 through 2020. 

What AAA Tested 

* AEB rear-end crash performance when facing a stationary vehicle at speeds of 30 and 40 mph. 

* AEB performance when interacting with moving vehicles in collision situations involving an intersection, T-bone, and left turns that are not secured (test car turning left in front of a approaching car). 

The Results 

{* At 30 mph, AEB prevented a rear-end collision for 17 of the 20 test runs, which is 85 percent of the time. For test runs that led to a crash, the impact speed was reduced by 86 %. 


{* At 40 mph, AEB only prevented a rear-end crash in 6 out of 20 tests which is 30% of the time. For test runs that led to a crash the speed of impact was decreased by 62 %. 

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

What’s Next 

AAA strongly encourages regulators and automakers to focus on system design and test protocols to handle the types of crashes that can cause injuries and fatalities commonly occur. 

{Automakers must improve AEB systems to assist drivers in collisions involving intersections. Automakers should incorporate AEB systems as standard equipment on all their models and makes. 

{Drivers must recognize an AEB system’s limitations, and stay engaged when driving. 

“Today’s research will show that although automated technology can help you become more secure, it can’t save your life. So, regardless of how smart you think your vehicle is, you have to be vigilant,” McKinley said. 

{AAA selected four vehicles for testing, picking two of each driver monitoring design type, camera-equipped and input via the steering wheel. AAA does not assess vehicle performance. The vehicles 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 purchased directly from the manufacturer or special rental fleets. To ensure the proper operation of the AEB system the vehicles were all serviced at dealerships. Refer to the complete report for the details of the methodology such as specific testing equipment and track characteristics.

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