Automaking braking system

Automaking braking system illustration, courtesy The Clemson University Vehicular Electronics Laboratory

In what it is calling a historic commitment, the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced yesterday that 20 automakers have agreed to put automatic emergency braking (AEB) into all new cars by September 1, 2022. The companies include, in alphabetical order: Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo Car USA.

Ahead of Schedule

Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA administrator, said:

We’re getting these safety systems into vehicles much faster than what would have been otherwise possible. A commitment of this magnitude is unprecedented, and it will bring more safety to more Americans sooner.

As Ryan Beene wrote for Automotive News, the agreement means that the safety technology will be in cars at least two years sooner than it if the industry had not made the commitment because a government mandate would have taken longer to enact. For example, the government mandate for rear-view cameras was proposed in 2010 but will not take effect until 2018.

A recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study found that AEB can reduce the occurrence of rear-end crashes by up to 40%. Deborah A. P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said the commitment has the potential to save more lives on the roads than almost anything else possible in the next six years. By including the technology in all new vehicles, it will ensure that safety is available to all buyers of new cars, not only those who can afford luxury vehicles, she noted.

New Autonomous Braking System

In a related news item, Jim Harger writes for MLive that a Michigan couple, Tom and Karen Vanden Berg, have invented an autonomous braking system, and they’re trying to sell the rights to it to an automaker or parts maker. The couple, who own a car stereo shop, teamed up with their sons and Marcus Automotive to form Safer Technology Solutions LLC.

Their invention, an early warning intersection device, draws on the same kind of radio frequency identification technology (RFID) that is currently used to trigger turnpike toll fees and to track inventory in warehouses and the trucking industry.

The system is programmed to activate the vehicle’s braking system and warn the driver via an on-board computer when the car approaches a stop sign. It’s activated by an RFID antenna on the vehicle’s front bumper. The driver can configure it to activate a dashboard warning light, and adapt it to signal when the car approaches a construction or school zone.

The system requires infrastructure to be slightly tweaked, Harger writes. Three passive information strips (which activate the in-vehicle system) need to be glued to or embedded in the road ahead of stop signs or braking zones. Tom Vanden Berg said that in a test, strips in a Michigan road made it through “a winter worth of snowplowing activity.” He said the strips are widely available and can be installed by construction companies, similar to the way road striping is done. Vanden Berg said that his company’s technology could be used with autonomous driving systems based on cameras rather than RFID equipment.

Here is an NHTSA video showing the benefits of Automatic Emergency Braking Systems:

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