Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB): improving safety on the road

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Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems are a recent innovation in vehicle safety-assist technology that have the potential to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on Australian roads.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is one of the biggest innovations in car safety technology since the seatbelti , according to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). Designed to minimise accidents caused by distracted or inattentive drivers, AEB has the potential to significantly reduce the road tolli.

AEB helps your car recognise a potential collision, alerts you to it and if you don't react, brakes for you.

AEB helps your car recognise a potential collision, alerts you to it and, if you don't react, brakes for you. It's designed to function only in emergencies. At all other times you're still responsible for your vehicle.

AEB is also referred to as Forward Collision Avoidance Technologyii. Mercedes-Benz introduced automatic braking branded as 'Distronic Plus' in 2005iii. Volvo followed with its 'City Safety' system in 2009iv. They set in motion a wider push from manufacturers to develop this technology. The functionality of each AEB system varies with each manufacturerv.

How it works

AEB is designed to prevent frontal crashes and sense potential collision hazards through remote sensing technologies, including radar, lidar and video camerasi. As your car approaches a hazard, it warns you with beeps and flashes and pre-charges your brakes. If you ignore the warning, the system applies the brakes.

There are three types of AEB (cars may feature some or all of these):

  1. Low speed: for speeds below 30km/h, it has the potential to eliminate or reduce injuries, such as whiplash, and minimise vehicle damage.
  2. Higher speed: long-range radar scans up to 200 metres ahead and applies auto brakes in emergencies.
  3. Pedestrian: radar and cameras are employed to detect pedestrians, cyclists and animalsv.
Radar and cameras are part of the AEB system to detect pedestrians, cyclists and animals.



To find out which vehicles already have an AEB system, see ANCAP's website.

iAustralasian New Car Assessment Program 2012, Media Release: Autonomous Emergency Braking can slash the road toll, 18 July, viewed 30 April 2015,

iiAnderson, R., Doecke, S., Mackenzie, J., Ponte, G., 'Potential benefits of forward collision avoidance technology', Centre for Automative Safety Research, viewed 23 March 2015,

iiiDaimler, Media Release: DISTRONIC PLUS/Brake Assist PLUS: Radar-based assistance systems can prevent 20 per cent of all head-to-tail crashes, viewed 30 April 2015,

ivVolvo 2009, Press Release: Volvo Cars receives Paul Pietsch Award 2009 for City Safety, 29 January, viewed 30 April 2015,

vHow Safe is Your Car, Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) , viewed 30 April 2015,

viMy Licence, Understand Different Types of Crashes and How to Avoid Them, South Australian Government, viewed 30 April 2015,

viiGrover, C., Knight, I., Okoro, F., Simmons, I., Couper, G., Massie, P., and Smith, B., Automated Emergency Brake Systems: Technical requirements, costs and benefits, viewed 30 April 2015,

viiiThatcham Research, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Frequently Asked Questions, viewed 30 April 2015,