Last year, Toyota and Lexus announced that for 2016 both companies would begin offering forward collision prevention and mitigation at a very low cost. On Toyota products, the new system called Toyota Safety Sense is packaged with other features like adaptive cruise control and offered for only $300 on many trims. Lexus has a similar system and program, and the package retails for about $500. Other manufacturers like Subaru charge much more, some as much as $2,000 for packages with the system. Now Toyota has joined with nine other automakers pledging to make the systems standard on all models.
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is a system that uses cameras, radar, and other sensing technology to detect an impending forward collision. Once a collision situation is detected the system can alert a driver to brake, or the system can brake the car automatically preventing a collision, or reducing the severity of the collision. We have tested dozens of systems from a wide variety of automakers. The system has even activated while this author was driving, preventing an accident.
Although driver focus is the best plan in any situation, AEB can react faster than a driver can and have the car stopping before a driver can react. Some systems, like the one in Nissan and Infiniti products, can even look ahead of the car in front of yours to see a situation developing that is not in the driver’s visual field and alert the driver to brake before they would otherwise know a collision was coming.
These optional systems have been in place now on mainstream cars long enough to be showing results. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said at the press conference announcing the new pledge, “AEB technology is already showing benefits in the real world. Several studies, including a recent report from IIHS, show that AEB technology can reduce injury insurance claims by as much as 35 percent.”
The other automakers taking part so far are Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Volkswagen and Volvo. The timeline for implementation is pending.
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