Certain new vehicles have technology features to help the driver brake faster when approaching an object. While these auto-brake systems should not and are not intended as the primary braking system, it is disappointing to see the latest reports. Unfortunately, these new systems fail to recognize child-size objects the majority of the time and do worse in evening hours.
In an effort to increase the safe, companies deployed tech to help drivers brake faster in an oncoming collision situation. The idea is that the vehicle may recognize an object in its path, alert the driver, and apply the brakes for the driver in order to cut down on reaction time. On the surface, this sounds practical and necessary in high population areas, however, there has been a struggle on how to implement the technology.
Trial & Error
During a test trial, researchers drove cars around 20 mph on a closed-off street with dummies “walking” the crosswalk. The auto-braking technology recognized adult-sized objects but failed to react to small, child-like objects. In fact, 89% of the time the car’s auto-braking hit the object and did not deploy brakes until after contact. When testing on adult-sized dummies, the auto-brake system performed much better, avoiding collisions at a 40% rate.
Results Speak For Themselves
The results of auto-brake testing certainly paint a grim picture for both drivers and manufacturers. For drivers, it means paying for a system that does not work effectively, despite the implications of avoiding accidents and eventual insurance claims. The manufacturer’s bad numbers mean its back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong.