If you’ve bought a new car in the past few years, you probably know about this device. It’s an automatic braking system meant to prevent severe car crashes.
But new research by AAA finds that Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) may not be living up to driver expectations.
You can watch the results of crash tests from AAA in the video above. The tests involved a mockup of a Toyota Prius made of materials that cause it to harmlessly break apart upon impact.
AEB uses cameras and other sensors to tell a car to apply the brakes when a crash is about to happen.
AAA says that function only works in limited situations.
In a series of tests, AEB worked 85% of the time in preventing rear-end crashes at 30 mph.
At 40 mph, it only prevented 30 percent of rear-end crashes.
But more revealing is this. In t-bone crashes and left turn crashes, the AEB failed to work at all, according to AAA.
“You have that aspect where drivers really need to be aware of the technology and how it works and more importantly when and how it won’t work for you,” said Marie Dodds with AAA of Oregon and Idaho. “Then, secondly, automakers really need to be up front about what these systems can and cannot do and make sure that they don’t have misleading names. Because Automatic Emergency Braking probably implies that technology can do a lot more than what it was originally designed to do.”
It’s important for drivers to note that AEB was not designed to prevent high speed crashes, AAA says.
As of September, 99% of new cars sold in the U.S. will have AEB systems as standard equipment.
You can read AAA’s full report at this link.