What is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)?
Put simply, AEB is a safety technology that takes into account the traffic conditions ahead and will automatically brake the car if the driver fails to respond to the conditions. It’s probably the most significant development in car safety since the seat belt and could save an astonishing 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next ten years. So, rather than protect the driver using the seatbelt and airbag in a crash situation, AEB aims to prevent the crash in the first place. That means less expense and hassle for drivers… and who doesn’t want that?
How does AEB Work?
AEB systems rely on a number of different technologies to monitor your vehicles’ immediate road environment and to detect and identify potential collision threats. If a critical situation is identified and the driver fails to react appropriately the AEB system can automatically apply the brakes to avoid the crash altogether or lessen the impact. The AEB technology on board your vehicle can often be dependent on the vehicles particular make and model. AEB systems can use Lidar, Radar, Camera or a fusion of all three technologies and this is critical to the speed range over which the system can effectively operate and the types of hazard that the vehicle is able to identify and avoid.
“Depending on its performance in the Thatcham test, cars with standard fit AEB receive a lower insurance group and can save you money on your premium”
WHAT IS THE BEST SYSTEM FOR ME?
AEB cannot currently be retrofitted to any vehicle so it’s important to be aware of which system is best for you and whether it’s available as standard on your next vehicle, or as a cost option.
Many vehicles have AEB fitted as standard, however where available as an optional extra it is often bundled together with other features meaning that the average cost for optional AEB is £1,300, but can be as low as £200 for a simple “City” system.
Different manufacturers also use a range of different terms and specific trade names to describe their AEB systems including City Safety (Volvo), Smart City Brake Support (Mazda), Active City Stop (Ford) and City Emergency Braking (Volkswagen).
Confusing matters further, different AEB systems also have different capabilities in terms of the speed at which they are effective, from low speed ‘city’ systems to higher speed ‘Inter Urban’ and then on to pedestrian detection.
Our comprehensive fitment guide shows you the availability of AEB across the model range – standard fit, optional, or unavailable, as well as the functionality of each system.
Find our fitment guide here
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT SYSTEMS?
Lidar sensors work over short distances using light detection to calculate the distance to the vehicle in front. These are low cost sensors which are very effective at completely avoiding collisions at speeds up to 15 mph, whilst also being able to mitigate the effects of a crash up to 25mph.
Examples – Volvo S60 & Mazda 3
Radar sensors work by using radio waves – effective over much longer distances – to detect the vehicle in front. Radar sensors are more complex and more expensive, but as such they are able to completely avoid collisions with stationary and moving vehicles at higher speeds up to 30 mph.
Examples – VW Golf & Nissan Qashqai
Vehicles with camera technology are not only able to detect potential collision threats, but also have the ability to classify them – is it another car? a pedestrian? or perhaps a cyclist? Cameras are increasingly being fitted on vehicles to provide the full 360 view around the vehicle enabling avoidance of a range of obstacles and can be particularly helpful during parking or low speed manoeuvres.
Examples – BMW MINI & Audi Q7
Teaming radar and camera sensors in “fusion” is the ideal solution offering the potential to address pedestrian and other vulnerable road user crashes whilst benefitting from the longer range sensing of radar.
Examples – Ford Mondeo & Volvo XC90
AEB sensing technologies are developing rapidly enabling an ever increasing ability to avoid crashes. As well as affecting the car’s vehicle’s insurance grouping, Thatcham’s AEB performance test is also used by Euro NCAP to help evaluate the vehicle’s overall safety rating. Where seat belts, airbags, crumple zones and innovative vehicle design hold the key to protecting the occupant should the worst happen, avoiding the crash in the first place is now of equal focus and it is now almost unheard of to gain Euro NCAP’s sought after 5 stars for safety without an AEB system on board.