The rise of automated features becoming a major trend in braking, driven by the availability of more advanced sensors and desire for safety features to protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike. With these systems climbing in popularity in recent years, it's important to think about all the ways they could affect the auto industry.
According to Bloomberg BNA, automated features, including braking, could become part of the National Highway Transportation System's 5-star safety rating system. This inclusion would codify the features as vital parts of the modern driving experience, going beyond their current place as add-ons, with understanding sometimes not keeping up with development.
The future of safety
The news source explained that the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee recently met to discuss ways to make drivers more aware of automated features and likely to use them. The idea of including automated features in either vehicle safety ratings or informational panels attached to cars at dealerships came from Robert Bosch LLC's vice president for automated driving and driver assistance systems, Kay Stepper.
The idea behind updating the crash rating system and adding more information to stickers is to make sure buyers and dealership sales staff alike are aware of the presence and usage of automated safety features. Car dealers are the gateway that puts new vehicles on the road, so a greater awareness at the point of sale could have a huge impact on consumer knowledge in general.
Coming into focus
The Detroit News reported in late 2016 on the ongoing awareness gap affecting drivers today. The source noted that AAA research found two-thirds of Americans who know what automated braking systems are see them as completely hands-off crash prevention systems. This is not exactly true, as the amount and uses of automation vary greatly today.
It's clear that consumers need a more detailed look at what particular vehicles' brakes are capable of. While some are designed for full stops, others are meant to lessen the impact of a potential collision. These systems vary widely, and react differently based on the speed of the vehicle in question.
There is now a timeline for industry-wide use of advanced braking systems, making this information delivery more important than ever. The Detroit News added that the voluntary date for standard automatic emergency brake use in new vehicles is now 2022 for cars and 2025 for trucks.
Overseas deadlines are more ambitious than those in the U.S. The Japan Times explained that 90 percent of new cars sold in Japan will have automatic brakes by 2020, if the government has its way.
The source noted that as of 2015, 45.5 percent of new cars and trucks rolled off the assembly line with automatic braking assist systems. The Japanese government's methods to increase the use of automatic brakes include subsidies and tax incentives.
Popular Fords see upgrades
Automatic braking is sure to get a high-profile boost in the U.S. soon when the nation's top-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150, receives an improved pedestrian defense system. Left Lane News specified that Ford plans to roll out advanced automatic braking features to its whole line, with the F-150 and Mustang set to be the first American cars with the system. In a significant breakthrough, the system will work at night, when visibility is low and safety features will potentially be most useful.
The system is set to appear in the 2018 American Mustang and F-150, and the next generation of Fiestas in Europe. Left Lane News noted that the system works in stages, first issuing warnings based on sensor readings, then automatically braking when and if the vehicle gets too close to an object deemed to be a pedestrian.
Pedestrian defense features are highly relevant forms of automatic braking due to plentiful distractions today. According to the source, Ford's Gregor Allexi noted that a preoccupied person on foot could be in danger, even if drivers are being attentive.
Testing and improving
Developing new brake systems and improving current performance means submitting parts to rigorous testing. It's important to ensure that this process doesn't miss any potential issues. That's why it pays to begin with a thorough overview – a complimentary brake testing consultation from Greening can get companies on the right track.