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.
What is AEB?
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is probably the most important development in car safety since the seat belt and could save an incredible 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next decade.
It's a safety technology that monitors the road ahead and will automatically brake the car if the driver fails to respond to a collision threat. Think of it like an extra pair of eyes on the road and an extra foot over the brake pedal, ready to act if you're distracted. In this way, rather than protect the driver using the seat belt and airbag in a crash, AEB can avoid the crash completely.
Watch our video to learn more about the rigorous scientific approach that goes into testing AEB systems, so that they can continue to save lives.
Crash ReductionsAEB leads to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes concluded a 2015 study by Euro NCAP and Australasian NCAP
Insurance ClaimsThird party injury claims on the Golf VII (with AEB) were 45% lower than its equivalent in our analysis of UK insurance data
The different systems
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.
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.
Teaming Radar & Camera
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.
What is the best system for me?
AEB systems use lidar, radar, camera or a combination of all three to detect an impending crash in the road ahead. A ‘Forward Collision Warning’ alerts the driver and, if they fail to react, the system applies the brakes automatically to reduce the impact speed or avoid the crash altogether. Early AEB systems functioned at lower speeds, avoiding collisions with other vehicles only. However more recent systems operate up to motorway speeds and in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.
Most new vehicles have AEB fitted as standard. In fact, since 2019, it’s no longer possible to get a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating without it.
If you’re buying a car from a showroom ask the dealer if it has standard-fit AEB. If it doesn’t, make it a deal breaker, unless its included for free.
It’s worth noting that different carmakers also use 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).
Our comprehensive fitment guide shows you the availability of AEB on your car or one you intend to buy – standard fit, optional, or unavailable, as well as the functionality of each system.
Click here to find out more: Autonomous Emergency Braking Fitment
Did You Know?In 2014 Volvo became the first to fit AEB as standard on all new models, Jaguar Land Rover was the second (2016)
AvoidanceMany AEB systems can now detect vulnerable road users like pedestrians & cyclists
Life SavingKilled or Seriously Injured accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists increased from 6,227 in 2013 to 6,991 in 2017
The science behind safety testing
The ability to safely and precisely test AEB in a repeatable environment is of vital importance.
Watch YouTuber Tom Scott as he visits our test track to get under the foamy, radar-reflective skin of the Global Vehicle Target (GVT) – the impactable ‘car’ that we use for AEB testing.
To cameras, radar and lidar the GVT looks just like a car but if you hit it, it'll fly apart and can be reassembled for more testing in a matter of minutes…