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Automatic Emergency Braking Next Big Thing in Driver Assist Technology

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reached an agreement with U.S. automakers that will make automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles by the 2022 model year.

An AEB system, which works on trucks equipped with disc or drum brakes, alerts the driver that corrective action is needed to avoid a rear-end collision. If the driver’s reaction is insufficient, the AEB system can automatically apply the brakes to help prevent or reduce the severity of impact.

“We’ve really got a lot of OEMs on the tractor side that have made collision mitigation systems standard on their vehicles,” Fred Andersky, Bendix’s director of government affairs, told CCJ magazine. “To an extent, this may be the first time the trucking industry might actually be ahead of the automotive industry in terms of making a technology standard.”

If the AEB system – which is always on and can’t be disabled – determines a crash in imminent, it first alerts the driver action is needed.

“The benefit of the system is that it provides a reaction time that is superior to what most humans can,” says Wabco President, Americas Jon Morrison. “From a view of a constant scanning of the horizon and being able to react very quickly, that is a benefit.”

Andersky notes that AEB is a driver assist, not a driver replacement, feature and that even when the system indicates a braking event lies ahead, the final decision lies with the driver.

“We’ve got to rely on the fact the driver is controlling the vehicle and has an intent of what he or she wants to do,” he says.

“The philosophy remains to get the driver reengaged in the process,” adds Morrison. “We want to make sure if they need to have an evasive maneuver, or if they need to brake in a certain way, that they have the first chance of reacting.”

As of next month, electronic stability control will be mandated on all new heavy trucks. However, Morrison says he doesn’t see a similar mandate for collision avoidance.

“It’s not moving toward any kind of regulation anytime soon,” Morrison says.

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