When 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri climbed into the cab of a lorry with the intention of driving it into a crowded Berlin market, he’d probably never heard of autonomous emergency braking, or AEB.
He certainly didn’t disengage the AEB system that was fitted to the Scania R450 truck he’d chosen. Perhaps he didn’t know how to, or perhaps he didn’t think to – either way, it was this system that prevented his horrific attack from claiming even more lives.
AEB is designed to prevent, or mitigate the effects of, vehicle collisions. It is able to crudely predict when a crash is likely to occur, and then take steps to either avoid it or make it less serious. Generally, the system will sound an audible alarm, often with a visual warning as well, when a collision risk is detected. If no action is taken by the driver, or if the reaction is deemed insufficient by the on-board computer, the AEB system will apply the emergency brake.