Federal Highway Research Institute

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Automatic emergency braking systems

Since the beginning of this decade, automatic emergency braking systems have been available in the passenger car sector that can prevent or at least influence accidents between passenger cars. These systems recognise an impending accident and prepare the vehicle for it by, for example, tightening seat belts, closing windows or trying to draw the driver's attention to the traffic situation, for example by applying the brakes. If the accident can no longer be avoided even by comparatively strong braking or evasive action by the driver, these systems also brake automatically with the aim of significantly reducing or completely eliminating the collision speed.

The picture shows the Euro NCAP Vehicle Target followed by a passenger car Snapshot from Euro NCAP tests of emergency braking systems

Braking systems that automatically take effect in the event of accidents with pedestrians or cyclists have also been in series production since the beginning of this decade.

For heavy vehicles in categories M2, M3 (buses) and N2, N3 (trucks), emergency brake assist systems have already been made mandatory in stages between 2015 and 2018, as rear-end collisions involving these vehicles usually have serious accident consequences. In addition, since the beginning of 2014, Euro NCAP has been assessing the performance of emergency braking systems for passenger car collisions, since 2016 for passenger car-pedestrian collisions and since 2018 for passenger car-bicycle collisions. The test scenarios in which the emergency braking systems have to prove themselves were derived from accident events.

Now that the technology has been available in the field for some time and has thus been tested, some countries, including the European Union, have decided to also make emergency brake assist systems mandatory for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (vehicle categories M1 and N1). Corresponding requirements based on the Euro NCAP test scenarios for passenger car collisions, passenger car-pedestrian collisions and passenger car-bicycle collisions will be gradually introduced in the EU between 2022 and 2026.

In the process of developing the regulations, BASt provided significant support to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and in some cases represented it, as well as strongly influencing the technical content of the regulations. Currently, work is still being done on requirements for passenger car bicycle emergency braking assistance.