Automatic Emergency Braking Explained

Sign up for our weekly email to stay on top of the latest news and insights!

Source: This is an excerpt of a comprehensive Motor Trend post by Alex Leanse explaining automatic-emergency braking (AEB) in layman’s terms. The entire post can be viewed by clicking HERE.

LOS ANGELES – You can probably think of a time when hitting the brakes earlier would have made a big difference. A split second or a few feet can turn an ordinary drive into a headache—or worse. Whether by unavoidable circumstances or momentary lapses in focus, collisions happen. To change that, automatic emergency braking (AEB) is proliferating across all vehicle segments.

What Is Automatic Emergency Braking?

Automatic emergency braking is an active safety system that activates a car’s brakes when a potential collision is detected. As its name suggests, it works automatically, without the driver actually touching the brake pedal. It can also increase braking force if the driver is applying the brakes, but not enough to prevent a collision. All AEB systems detect vehicles, and many can sense pedestrians and cyclists. The purpose of AEB is to mitigate crashes by initiating braking when hazardous conditions arise or if the driver brakes insufficiently.

What Is Forward Collision Warning?

Your car suddenly stopping on its own can be startling. As such, AEB is typically paired with forward collision warning (FCW). FCW is often indicated by a sound, visible signal, or through tactile feedback. In most vehicles, FCW activates a moment before AEB. This lets the driver know a collision is imminent, and it gives them a chance to react and press the brakes. If insufficient action is taken, AEB then intervenes. Worth noting: A handful of vehicles include FCW, but not AEB.

Related posts:
AEB: These Automakers Are Ahead of The Curve
Four Automakers Meet AEB Commitments Early

What Is Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking?

Do you ever wish it was impossible to reverse into things while parking? Reverse automatic braking is making it a reality. This system clamps the brakes when a rear collision is detected, be it with a parked car, garage wall, or other obstacle. Reverse automatic braking is meant more as a convenience than a safety enhancement; it helps avoid damage caused by low-speed parking impacts. Some cars combine it with rear cross-traffic alert, which detects vehicles passing behind when you’re reversing. If not properly calibrated, however, a reverse automatic emergency braking system can also be a hassle when parallel parking, if it’s too sensitive.

How Does Automatic Emergency Braking Work?

How does AEB know exactly when to hit the stoppers? Some vehicles use radar sensors mounted within the front grille, bumper, or air vents. Others rely on cameras, which are usually installed inside the windshield behind the rearview mirror area. Some use both. Whatever the detection method, software constantly calculates crash potential based on sensor data. If specific parameters are met, the software triggers FCW and AEB.

The other sections of the post are:

Does Automatic Emergency Braking Work for Pedestrians?

Automatic Emergency Braking: Pros and Cons

Can You Turn Off Automatic Emergency Braking?

Is Automatic Emergency Braking Worth It?

Does Automatic Emergency Braking Really Work?

What Are the Different Automatic Emergency Braking Systems?

The entire post can be viewed by clicking HERE.

The Brake Report
The Brake Report

The BRAKE Report is an online media platform dedicated to the automotive and commercial vehicle brake segments. Our mission is to provide the global brake community with the latest news & headlines from around the industry.