|Subaru Eyesight's two-camera system has depth perception.|
Text and Photos by Monch Henares
Safety, Safety, Safety. Automobiles are extremely safer than cars manufactured decades ago, thanks to technological advances in artificial intelligence and electronics.
From the mandating of seatbelts, safety glass, electronic stability control, latch child safety seat systems, and front airbags in the past, we will now see Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard equipment on all automobile segments by the 3rd quarter of 2022.
Research shows AEB reduces the risk and severity of crashes by recognizing the dangers ahead and automatically braking for you before you even have the time to process and react. It also has the potential to reduce road trauma.
|Honda Sensing's Radar below the front bumper|
AEB uses scanners, sensors, radars, lasers, and cameras to screen for potential crashes and intervene if you don't respond. Some systems include flashing lights, audible signals, as well as varying levels of braking intervention.
It was only available on luxury and sports cars in the past, but this super-advanced technology is now affordable and available to the average consumer.
AEB is an active safety system that activates a car's brakes when a potential collision is detected. As its name suggests, it works automatically, without the driver actually touching the brake pedal. It can also increase braking force if the driver is applying the brakes, but not enough to prevent a collision.
Your car suddenly stopping on its own can be startling. As such, AEB is typically coupled with the Pre-Collision Throttle Management System (PCTMS) and the Forward Collision Warning (FCW). The PTMS will reduce the power of the engine, while the Forward FCW often indicated by a sound, visible flashing signal, or through tactile feedback from the steering wheel alerts you to the stopped vehicle in your path. If you don’t take action quickly enough, the AEB system will engage and try to prevent a collision with the vehicle ahead. In most vehicles, FCW activates a moment before AEB. This lets the driver know a collision is imminent, and it gives them a chance to react and press the brakes. If insufficient action is taken, AEB then intervenes.
All AEB systems detect vehicles, and many can sense pedestrians and cyclists. The purpose of AEB is to mitigate crashes by initiating braking when hazardous conditions arise or if the driver brakes insufficiently.
Some vehicles use radar sensors mounted within the front grille, bumper, or air vents. Others rely on one camera or two cameras (Subaru's Eyesight System) which are usually installed inside the windshield behind the rearview mirror area. Some use both. Whatever the detection method, software constantly calculates crash potential based on sensor data. If specific parameters are met, the software triggers FCW and AEB.
AEB, PCTMS, and FCW are all part of a larger set of safety features now offered on regular-priced cars. Every car brand has its own registered name for its safety feature suite. Honda Sensing, Subaru Eyesight, Ford Co-Pilot360, Toyota Safety Sense, and KIA Highway Driving Assist to name a few. All of them have their own unique name, but all of them strive for one common goal, semi-autonomous driving and road safety.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is perfect for long drives as it lessens your fatigue by maintaining the distance based on the car in front of you, braking and accelerating as needed; while the Low-Speed Follow (LSF) helps make it easier to drive during stop-and-go traffic. Adaptive Cruise Control systems from other cars such as the Ford Everest deactivates once the vehicle goes below a certain speed, while Subaru EyeSight which is best for stop-and-go traffic is kept activated even down to a full stop.
This combination of cameras, radar, and sensors monitor traffic conditions ahead identify lane markings, and recognize traffic signs, in turn, adjusting or activating the Safety Suite's functions as is necessary. Some can warn you if you’re swaying out of your lane and optimize cruise control.
Road Departure Mitigation
Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) helps you avoid collision by providing audible, visual, and tactile feedback warning whenever your car swerves to the other lane without the proper use of signal lights. Working together with the Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) which scans the road ahead, both systems will steer and keep your vehicle at the center of the visible road lanes and in the best driving position as it guides you to follow the flow of the road. Some systems are even smart enough to alert you if it senses your hands are off the steering wheel.
This specific driving safety system uses sensors located on the rear bumper and side mirrors. Working with your turn signals, they monitor the road to your sides and notify the driver with an audible warning and light signal that will appear on the side mirror or windshield frame if another vehicle has appeared within your blind spot or if another vehicle has switched into an adjacent lane and is at risk of a collision. They are optimized to work at highway speeds.
|Honda system uses a camera that shows the image on the infotainment screen when activated.|
More Safety Features Coming
Auto High-Beam (AHB) Using a single camera, this system allows you to automatically turn on the high beams when there are no other vehicles ahead and lower your beam appropriately when encountering oncoming traffic.
Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking
Do you ever wish it was impossible to reverse into things while parking? Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB) is making it a reality. This system clamps the brakes when a rear collision is detected, be it with a parked car, garage wall, or another obstacle. RAB is meant more as a convenience than a safety enhancement; it helps avoid damage caused by low-speed parking impacts. Some car brands combine it with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), which detects via a sonar, vehicles passing behind when you're reversing. If not properly calibrated, however, a reverse automatic emergency braking system can also be a hassle when parallel parking, if it's too sensitive.
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