Commercial vehicles and autonomous braking: A perfect match?

The transition to autonomous braking as a regular feature of vehicles will be helped along by a few factors. While consumers' acceptance of the technology is undoubtedly one of these elements, commercial usage of these brakes may be even more important.

Thinking about the commercial fleet market, it becomes clear why appealing to these corporate customers is so important for the mainstreaming of these systems. Companies buy trucks en masse, and keep them for a significant amount of time. Features leaders pick could become very common on the roads.

Commercial truck operators are keen to avoid creating risks on the roads, governed by safety regulations and hoping to reduce liability. New safety technology is therefore a particularly likely mode of innovation – autonomous braking fits into this category.

UK industry group makes endorsement
According to Fleet News, a group of industry members in the U.K. has released public support for autonomous emergency braking. With newly manufactured heavy vehicles having this technology, these urgings are most relevant to companies buying small or medium cars and trucks, as well as consumers. Many of the members of the coalition are members of the commercial driving industry, and their recommendation is based on research that has projected lives saved due to more widespread use of autonomous braking.

One potential argument against the widespread use of AEB use in fleet operations – that trained and experienced drivers don't need help – was addressed by Road Haulage Association CEO Richard Burnett. He stated that the danger facing cars and trucks today exists even for the most adept drivers. He noted that this is why new heavy-duty vehicles have these systems almost as a matter of course today.

Despite coming from industry groups, Fleet News noted that the recommendation extends to consumer car buyers. The members of the coalition explained that the new braking systems can typically be added as an affordable upgrade.

Feature roll-out
The transition from totally manual to automated and intelligent vehicles has gone step by step instead of occurring all at once. According to, original equipment manufacturers Bendix used the North American Commercial Vehicle Show to unveil a few new capabilities. New assistance technology includes emergency braking. According to Bendix representatives, rollaway incidents are presently common in trucking, meaning there is a market for new intelligent features.

Braking improvement is one of the key factors that must occur for the commercial driving industry to move toward completely automated operations, a future that has been much predicted but hasn't yet come to pass. As noted, physical changes to brake construction will be necessary to enter the automated era, alongside new software. Vehicles will require air disc brakes, as traditional drum brakes aren't compatible with AEB, platooning and other digital driver assistance tech. added that OEMs have been relatively successful at getting these brakes into new vehicles. Kenworth and Peterbilt both use air disc brakes in their standard trucks, and have since 2013. In addition, Navistar offers optional air disc brakes. That said, 70 percent of new vehicles purchased still have drum brakes.

Bendix and its fellow brake manufacturers have attempted several strategies to get more mainstream attention for air disc brakes, including promoting their ease of maintenance and more effective operation. In Europe there's no need for such tactics – legally, new vehicles must have air disc brakes.

Air disc brakes are the first step to AEB in trucks.Air disc brakes are the first step to AEB in trucks.

Judging the AEB market
With technical groundwork being laid and industry voices supporting their use, it's clear that autonomous emergency braking is on an upward trajectory. According to MarketsandMarkets research, the AEB market will be worth $55.31 billion by 2025. That amounts to an impressive 22.23 compound annual growth rate from 2020 and 2025.

As for the types of systems that will be most prominent, the researchers believe low-speed tech used in city driving will hold the largest market share. Roads within cities where cars and trucks drive at relatively low speeds see a large amount of traffic. MarketsandMarkets noted that the most important region for the development of braking technology is Asia. The sheer amount of auto production going on in China and Japan makes up a big segment of the global whole.

This expanding industry, with the potential to become still more prominent over the next few years, will likely see plenty of new hardware and software projects. Developers of braking tech can determine whether they're on the right track with a complimentary brake testing consultation from Greening.