Carmakers have vowed to install automatic emergency braking systems on just about every passenger vehicle sold in Ohio and around the country by September 2022. The technology is designed to prevent collisions by monitoring road conditions using cameras and sensors and applying vehicle brakes automatically when an accident danger is detected. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced that 10 manufacturers have already met their voluntary commitment.
American manufacturers lag behind
According to the IIHS, the European carmakers Volvo, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and BMW, and the Asian manufacturers Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai and Subaru, already include automatic emergency braking systems as standard equipment on all of the vehicles they sell in the United States. Tesla is the only American carmaker that can say the same. Ford offers the technology on 91% of its passenger vehicles, but less than 50% of the cars, SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks produced by General Motors and Chrysler currently have the feature.
Ineffective at night
Carmakers still have almost two years to meet the September 2022 goal, but the results of a study conducted by the American Automobile Association in 2019 suggest that automatic braking systems may not work nearly as well as their makers claim. AAA researchers tested the systems by placing mannequins on a closed course and then driving vehicles equipped with automatic brakes toward them. When the tests were conducted during the day, the vehicles struck adult-sized dummies 60% of the time and child-sized dummies a worrying 89% of the time. When the tests were repeated at night, which is when most pedestrian accidents occur, the technology was found to be completely ineffective.
While the safety benefits of autonomous safety technology remain the topic of fierce debate, the data captured by the cameras and sensors the systems use has already proven useful to accident investigators and personal injury attorneys. Electronic evidence could be used to prove negligence in a car accident lawsuit if it shows that the defendant was speeding, driving recklessly, or not paying attention at the time of the crash.