NTSB wants auto industry to speed collision avoidance technology adoption

NTSB wants auto industry to speed collision avoidance technology adoption
Credit: Reuters

Advanced safety tools would save lives now National Transportation Safety Board says


The National Transportation Safety Board this week said it wants to see auto collision avoidance technology implemented in cars more quickly and recommended that such equipment become standard on all new passenger and commercial vehicles.

The NTSB said that only 4 out of 684 passenger vehicle models in 2014 included a complete forward collision avoidance system as a standard feature. When these systems are offered as options, they are often bundled with other non-safety features, making the overall package more expensive.

“You don’t pay extra for your seatbelt,” said Chairman NTSB Christopher Hart in a statement. “And you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”

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The NTSB wants to see manufacturers make collision avoidance systems standard equipment in newly manufactured vehicles, beginning with collision warning systems, and adding autonomous emergency braking once the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration completes standards for such braking systems. The group also recommends that the NHTSA develop tests and standards in order to rate the performance of each vehicle’s collision avoidance systems.

The technologies the NTSB is focused on include Dynamic Brake Support that helps drivers’ response to a sudden emergency situation. DBS uses

Information from forward-looking sensors/cameras to ascertain driving situations and potential conflicts. “One function includes pre-charging brakes in anticipation of the driver’s braking response. As part of this function, the system builds up preventive brake pressure by placing the braking pads on the brake disks and putting the hydraulic brake assist into an alert state. When a driver actually brakes, the fastest braking response time is achieved. The pre-charging of the brake system, which can save about 30 milliseconds in passenger vehicles, may result in a reduction of impact velocity but is unlikely to actually prevent a collision.”

Another technology is known as Autonomous Emergency Braking which autonomously applies brakes in order to prevent or mitigate a collision. AEB is typically activated after a warning system alerts a driver about a potential rear-end collision and the driver fails to respond. The AEB may apply either partial or full braking force, or cascaded braking, which is the application of partial braking followed by full braking force, the NTSB stated.

“A complete forward CAS works by monitoring the environment—either via lidar (light detection and ranging), radar, camera, or a fusion of different technologies for potential conflicts, such as a slow moving or stopped vehicle. Then, when it detects a conflict, it begins the process of alerting the driver by initially preparing the brakes in anticipation of braking and alerting a driver through different warning cues. If the conflict persists, the system initiates AEB or provides additional braking force if the driver brakes too late or not strongly enough. The effectiveness of the forward CAS (complete or its components) depends heavily on the accuracy and timeliness of detection, which relies on the quality of the installed sensor, camera, or vision algorithm detecting targets.”

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The NTSB’s recommendations come from a 63-page report the agency issued this week that looked at the issue of rear-end collisions that noted rear-end crashes kill about 1,700 people every year and injure half a million more. More than 80% of these deaths and injuries might have been mitigated had the vehicles been equipped with a collision avoidance system, the report states.

Among the report’s conclusions:

1. The slow development of performance standards and the lack of regulatory action have delayed deployment of collision avoidance technologies that could prevent or mitigate rear-end crashes.

2.While focusing research on how forward collision avoidance systems can prevent rear-end crashes is important, mitigating a crash is similarly important.

3. A collision warning system, particularly when paired with active braking, such as dynamic brake support and autonomous emergency braking, could significantly reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.

4. The full benefits of autonomous emergency braking for commercial vehicles can be achieved only when such a braking system is installed on vehicles also equipped with electronic stability control.

5. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s existing testing scenarios and protocols for the assessment of forward collision avoidance systems in passenger vehicles do not adequately represent the wide range of velocity conditions seen in crashes, particularly high-speed crashes.

6.Performance standards and protocols for the assessment of forward collision avoidance systems in commercial vehicles would provide an impetus for the advancement of the systems and speed their deployment in commercial fleets.

7.Broad deployment of forward collision avoidance systems into passenger vehicles, motorcoaches, single-unit trucks, and truck-tractors wouldconsiderably reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.

8. The incorporation of forward collision avoidance system technologies into the 5-star New Car Assessment Program rating in the United States would provide an incentive to consumers to purchase vehicles with such systems and would likely encourage passenger vehicle manufacturers to include these systems in their vehicles as standard features.

9. A graded rating that compares the performance of forward collision avoidance systems across vehicle models would help consumers differentate the effectiveness of the available systems.

10. New vehicles equipped with vehicle-based forward collision avoidance systems would obtain immediate safety benefits and be poised to assume future integration with connected-vehicle technology, which offers an even broader spectrum of safety coverage for drivers.

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