What is ADAS?
Just as technology has made our phones, TVs and other devices smarter, the same thing has happened to our vehicles. While most areas of our cars, SUVs and trucks have seen improvements, some of the most exciting advancements have been in safety functions that aim to reduce the number and severity of car accidents.
Known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), these safety functions can warn drivers of potential problems and in some cases, these features take automatic action to help the driver avoid trouble. ADAS features can be found throughout your vehicle but some of the most important functions can be found in the brake system. Drivers can’t always react quick enough to avoid a collision and that’s where brake assist (BA or BAS) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) functions are crucial.
What Is Brake Assist & How Does It Work?
Brake assist is an adaptive safety system that is activated when a driver hits the brakes suddenly in an emergency. The BAS applies the full brake force of the vehicle when it detects panic or emergency braking. By the BA system applying the maximum strength of the brakes at the same time the driver is braking, it reduces the stopping distance of the vehicle in the hopes of avoiding a crash or reducing the severity of an impact. What once was a premium feature reserved for high-end packages, brake assist can be found on most vehicles that have anti-lock brakes (ABS).
The brake assist system works in conjunction with the anti-lock brake system to bring the vehicle to a stop. When the driver hits the brakes hard and fast enough, the BAS sensors detect an emergency situation at full-strength until the ABS kicks in. By the ABS activating, it helps avoid the wheels from locking up.
What is automatic Emergency Craking? How Does AEB Work?
Automatic emergency braking (also called autonomous emergency braking) is a safety feature that can identify when a crash may occur and reacts by automatically activating the brakes to avoid a collision or slow the vehicle to lessen the effect of an impact. AEB uses sensors like radar, cameras or LiDAR to detect obstacles and determine if a crash is likely. If a collision is imminent and the driver hasn’t responded, the AEB system will activate the brakes.
Basic automatic emergency braking systems are most effective at lower speeds. The slower a vehicle is traveling increases the odds that the AEB will be successful in avoiding a collision. Advanced AEB systems work at a wider range of speeds, some work at highway speeds. There are even systems that can detect cyclists and pedestrians.
AEB is required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to come as standard equipment on all vehicles built after September 1, 2022. Studies have shown that AEB is effective in reducing crashes and reducing injuries if an impact occurs. A study by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that AEB reduced rear-end crashes by 50%.
Is Brake Assist the Same as AEB?
No. Brake assist and automatic emergency braking are two distinct ADAS functions. Brake assist is not an automatic function, it only activates when it senses the driver forcefully hitting the brake pedal. In contrast, AEB is an automated system that uses sensors to help detect trouble and apply the brakes if the driver hasn’t already pressed down on the brake pedal.
How Can ADAS Braking Systems Help Drivers?
Brake assist and automatic emergency braking systems can help in several potential collision scenarios:
- Head-on Crash
- Read-end collision
- Intersection accident
- Roadway obstacle
- Pedestrain-vehicle acciendent
These advancements not only assist drivers, but they improve traffic safety. One important thing to remember is that these technologies don’t replace the role that you play as an attentive driver. You must always remain alert, even if your vehicle is equipped with ADAS technologies.
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