Technology Guide: What is an Automatic Braking System?
Technology Guide: What is an Automatic Braking System?

The basics

The safety technology of automobiles includes an automatic braking system. This advanced system is designed to prevent collisions or to reduce the speed of the vehicle before it collides with pedestrians or other obstacles.

These systems use a combination of sensors such as radar, video or ultrasonic to detect potential objects in front. If the object is detected, the system uses brake control to avoid collision.

Autonomous brakes are one of many safety features in cars. They are often integrated into other technology such as adaptive cruise control and pre-collision system.

The Operation Explained

Although each manufacturer may have its own technology for automatic braking systems however, all of them use the same basic input. The manufacturer may use laser, radar, or video data to detect if any objects are in front of the vehicle. The system may monitor traffic and determine the likelihood of a collision.

The system will continue to measure sensor data if an object is detected. The system determines the distance between moving vehicles and objects in front of them and also assesses their relative speeds. If it concludes that there is an important speed difference (i.e. If the vehicle's speed exceeds the speed of any object in its path, the system can activate the brakes to try to avoid a collision.

A vehicle's GPS can be connected to an automatic braking system to activate the brakes if the driver fails.

Different Systems Available

As mentioned previously, every manufacturer has its own technology for automatic braking, which uses different sensory inputs and configurations.

Volvo's City Safety System uses a combination lidar (laser radar) and a camera mounted in the windshield. The Lidar can see up to 100 yards ahead of the car but can't identify what it is seeing. The camera is there to identify the object and determine if it's a problem.

Honda's City Brake active system combines radar sensors with cameras. The data is used to detect any collision and notify the driver via a series of visual and audible warnings. The system can automatically apply the brakes if the driver ignores them. Honda's system detects pedestrians and can slow down the vehicle or stop it completely if pedestrians are present.

Role in Other Car Safety Features

According to IIHS crash avoidance devices have the potential to reduce or prevent the impact of around 1.9 million crashes per year. They can also prevent at least one third of fatal crashes.

These crashes can be prevented by automatic braking systems. They are used primarily in precrash and collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control.

Collision avoidance systems alert the driver when there is a collision. They usually use a combination of an audible and visual alerts on the instrument panel or windshield and tightening the seat belt.

If the driver does not respond to the warnings or decides to not apply the brakes, the brakes will be activated automatically.

An automatic braking system can also be used in conjunction with adaptive cruise control systems. These systems measure the speed of the leading vehicle and attempt to match it. These systems can reduce speed by reducing throttle, downshifting and activating brakes.

Benefits of an Automatic Braking System

Automatic braking systems are used to ensure that drivers don't drive their cars differently from other cars. It's there, but it's not a problem for the driver. And, if you really think about it, it doesn’t even require driver input to react.

Only 40% of drivers respond appropriately to crashes and hit the brakes. The driver still has the option to push the brakes or steer around, it is important to remember. We want to leave the driver with the final decision. The driver must not react, and then autonomous braking is the only option. (Klaus Kompass is BMW's vice-president for vehicle safety.

An automatic braking system can help to reduce the damage caused by an accident and save lives.

It's a safety net that most drivers won't use. It is still a comfort for all drivers.

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