Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) has proved efficient when it comes to prevent rear-end wrecks, applying the brakes autonomously when certain conditions are met to avoid a crash. However, AAA set out to find out if the latest iterations of AEB are capable of operating at higher speeds and detecting moving vehicles, and found the technology a bit lacking.
AEB employs forward-facing cameras and an array of other sensors that detect if a crash is imminent, automatically applying the brakes to mitigate an unavoidable impact, or bring the vehicle to a stop and avoid an impact entirely. While it is capable of detecting if a preceding vehicle is stopped and avoid a rear-end wreck, AEB is not as efficient at avoiding more deadly wrecks, such as T-bones and erroneous left turns in front of oncoming vehicles.
AAA tested rear-end crash performance on vehicles equipped with front Automatic Emergency Braking, encountering stopped vehicles at 30 mph and 40 mph, well above the current mandated test speeds of 12 mph and 25 mph. The organization found that AEB-equipped vehicles prevented rear-end collisions in 17 of 20 test runs, reducing crash speed by 86 percent.
Meanwhile, in tests of intersection T-bones and unprotected left turns, AEB failed to alert its driver, and crashes occurred 100 percent of the time. Considering that 39.2 percent of traffic fatalities between 2016 and 2020 occurred due to T-bones or unprotected left turns in intersections, it is paramount that automakers focus on improving AEB technology to respond to such incidents.
One of the vehicles that AAA tested was the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox LT outfitted with Chevy Safety Assist. Interestingly, GM has been called out in the past for being behind the curve when it comes to producing vehicles with AEB technology as standard equipment. In a statement, a General Motors spokesperson said that GM “remains on track to meet the industry commitment to automatic emergency braking.”