Car Emergency Brakes fail at intersections

{New research from AAA has found that Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), a safety system that is marketed by manufacturers as lifesaving crash-prevention technology, has difficulty when driving at high speeds, and is unable to function at intersections, two of the most dangerous scenarios encountered by drivers. The news comes as 20 automakers that make up more than 90% of the U.S. market pledge to create AEB mandatory on all of their new vehicles. 83% of all 2022 model year vehicles outfitted with the system as standard. 
{“Automatic Emergency Braking is exceptional at preventing collisions with fenders,” 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 collision is imminent. It can reduce rear-end crashes when driving at slower speeds, according to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study which found that vehicles fitted with AEB had the same 50% reduction in police-reported rear-end crashes compared to non-equipped vehicles. 

{The technology has been refined over time with the latest hardware and software. AAA determined that the latest generation of AEB can cope with higher speeds and be able to detect moving vehicles at intersections, specifically when presented with T-bone and left turn situations that aren’t adequately protected. Together, these crash types made up nearly 40% of fatalities involving two passenger vehicles from 2016 to 2020. 

What AAA Tested 

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

* AEB performance when encountering moving vehicles in collision situations involving an intersection with a T-bone and left turns that are not protected (test driver turning left in front of an oncoming car). 

The Results 

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


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

{* In both the tests for left-turn and T-bone crashes occurred almost every time. AEB did not warn 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 manage the types of crashes that can cause injuries and fatalities commonly occur. 

{Automakers must improve AEB systems to aid drivers in collisions that involve intersections. Automakers must include AEB systems as standard equipment on all their makes and models. 

{Drivers must recognize the AEB system’s limitations and remain focused behind the wheel. 

“Today’s research is clear: Although automated technology can help you become a safer driver however, it can’t save your life – so regardless of how clever you think your vehicle is, you have to be vigilant,” McKinley said. 

{AAA selected four vehicles to test, selecting two of each driver monitoring design type camera-equipped, as well as input via the steering wheel. AAA doesn’t rate the vehicle’s performance. The cars were as follows: 

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

{The vehicles were procured directly from the manufacturer or specialty rental fleets. In order to ensure the proper functioning of the AEB system all vehicles were serviced at dealerships. Refer to the complete report for details on the methodology with specific test equipment as well as test track characteristics.