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Safety at All Angles: AEB tech incapable of preventing t-bone, left-turn crashes, AAA testing shows

Toronto, Ontario — Vehicle safety advocates from the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the U.S. are calling on automakers to improve the performance of automatic emergency braking (AEB), concerned that the technology fails to account for the most dangerous crash scenarios drivers find themselves in.

“Automatic Emergency Braking does well at tackling the limited task it was designed to do. Unfortunately, that task was drawn up years ago, and regulator’s slow-speed crash standards haven’t evolved,” said director of AAA’s automotive engineering and industry relations, Greg Brannon.

“Testing requirements for this technology, or any vehicle safety system for that matter, must be updated to handle faster, more realistic speeds and scenarios with the greatest safety benefit for drivers.”

For AAA, this means AEB that can stand up to higher speeds and prevent collisions from the deadliest angles a driver could be struck from—t-bone and left-turn crash scenarios accounted for 39.2 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. from 2016 to 2020.

The organization held its own series of crash tests to demonstrate why improved AEB technology is vital in preventing the most severe crashes.

In a rear-end collision test at 48km/h, AAA found that AEB was able to prevent 85 percent of collisions. In cases where a crash did occur, impact speed was reduced by 86 percent.

However, at a speed of just 16km/h faster, AEB was only capable of preventing 30 percent, or six out of 20, rear-end collisions at 64km/h.

When put through t-bone and left-turn tests at 48km/h and 64km/h, AEB did not prevent a single crash out of the 20 total trials of each collision angle.

As such, AAA is calling on automakers to step up their game when it comes to the performance of AEB in the most deadly crash scenarios, as well as U.S. federal regulators to strengthen the testing requirements for AEB to account for more severe crash scenarios.

The current mandated testing speeds for AEB in rear-end collision scenarios are only 20 and 40km/h.

AAA used the following vehicles in its recent high-speed AEB testing.

  • 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”

 

AAA’s full report, entitled “Automatic Emergency Braking Performance in the Context of Common Crash Scenarios,” can be found here.

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