Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a guardian angel on our shoulder, checking us all the time we’re driving to make sure all is well?
Collision Warning is a sort of like a guardian angel. It monitors the distance to the vehicle in front using cameras and/or sensors, and continuously calculates if a collision is imminent. It then warns the driver, usually with flashing lights on the dash and an audible warning, that action needs to be taken. The system only warns you – it doesn’t apply the brakes like Active Cruise Control or auto-brake (see below) – so you have to be on the ball or you may be too late to avoid a collision.
In heavy traffic, the warnings can be frequent and may become annoying, to the extent that drivers switch the system off, which defeats the purpose. It is also called Forward Collision Warning System.
Autonomous Emergency Braking System (AEBS)
AEBS is an extension of collision warning. It uses cameras or other sensors to monitor vehicles in front, warns the driver, then applies the brakes if it detects an imminent collision and the driver takes no action. While the systems will only avoid a collision below a specific closing speed, at higher speeds it can at least reduce the impact speed, and therefore vehicle damage and possible injury.
It is helpful if you are momentarily distracted or if something unexpected happens in front of you. Similarly to Forward Collision Warning, if it triggers too often drivers may switch it off. Manufacturers have a range of brand names for such systems, including City Safety, Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, EyeSight, and Pre-Safe Brake.
It will become mandatory in Europe for new heavy vehicles from 2013.
What’s your experience with Collision Warning Technology and Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems? Are they features you like?