Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

If it's going to drive itself, it might as well brake too

Study Confirms High Effectiveness of Low Speed Autonomous Emergency Braking
Your car will turn on the wipers, lights and now brake. Soon all that will be left is to switch the coffee machine to manual

Having your car automatically slam on the brakes to avoid a low-speed accident leads to a 38 per cent reduction in real-world rear-end crashes, says a road safety organisation.

European road safety research organisation Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) carried out an analysis of data from various countries. The full research paper ($) looks at cars with the technology in place and hopes to encourage more car manufacturers to adopt the technology.

Autonomous Emergency Braking is becoming increasingly common. The low speed option normally consists of an automatic brake function that operates for speeds up to 30km/h(19mph) or 50km/h. (31mph) Previous studies have predicted significant expected benefits of AEB technology in low speed rear-end shunts but, so far, there has been little evidence that they really work.

The new report puts numbers to the effectiveness. It looked beyond Europe by including Australian figures, with research from Professor Brian Fildes at Monash University in Melbourne.

There was no statistical difference found between urban (≤60km/h) and rural (>60km/h) speed zones.

Dr Anders Lie, the group chairman from the Swedish Transport Administration, commented: “The meta-analysis approach used in this analysis is a unique academic contribution to the evaluation of vehicle safety technologies internationally and proved to be reliable with robust findings. Clearly, at this level of effectiveness, low speed AEB is potentially an important active safety technology and widespread fitment through the vehicle fleet should be encouraged in the interest of improved vehicle safety.”

Dr Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: “These findings strongly support our decision to make AEB technology a key discriminator in the safety rating of new vehicles. Through VVSMA, we will continue to monitor the effectiveness in reducing real world crashes of the advanced systems that are promoted in order to validate and improve the overall star rating.”

Of course, one car slamming on the brakes to avoid an accident puts an onus on following traffic to be alert enough to react, and Euro NCAP is keen to point out that Autonomous Emergency Braking will really benefit from widespread adoption. But at least if it all fails, the car can call for help

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