Source: Kettering University announcement

FLINT, Mich. — Kettering University Assistant Professor Dr. Ahmed Mekky and his team of graduate students are discovering the limitations of vehicles’ automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems to help owners better understand their vehicles.

Rimkus Consulting Group Inc. commissioned the research after Michael Urban reached out to Dr. Craig Hoff, Dean of the College of Engineering, about the project. Urban, a practice leader and professional engineer at Rimkus, is taking online classes at Kettering to earn a master’s degree.

The project required the University to purchase a soft target, a foam vehicle similar in size to a sedan. Hoff said he had already planned to make that purchase for other projects.

Hoff said he selected Mekky to work on the project because of his background in dynamic systems and controls.

“[Mekky] was able to quickly come up to speed and has been doing a great job on the project,” Hoff said.

Urban, an accident reconstructionist at Rimkus, said the research findings will help provide more information on how accidents happen. He said he’s seen a couple of accident types involving automatic emergency brakes. One in which the driver said the accident wasn’t their fault because the car didn’t stop on its own and another in which the car stopped on its own in the middle of traffic, reportedly for no reason.

“If we know how systems work, it will help us to know how they fail,” Urban said.

Vehicles on the road today collect data when they are involved in a crash, but the data doesn’t always show if the vehicle had taken over as is the case with an AEB system or if the driver was in charge. The findings from this research may help change that, and analysts may be able to tell if the driver was paying attention or if it was a vehicle taking charge, Urban said. Sometimes, drivers are paying attention but think the vehicle is able to do more on its own than it actually can. That’s because drivers don’t completely understand their vehicles’ features.

With the industry standard for the system set to a limited scope of an eight-miles-per-hour reduction in speed before impact, the Kettering research is finding that the system’s performances vary by vehicle.

“Different brands react differently, Mekky said.

To view the entire announcement, click HERE.