Automobile Collision Avoidance Systems

automobile collision avoidance systems kick in when danger strikes
Automobile collision avoidance systems are designed to prevent accidents when the worst happens and the driver is unable to take the proper corrective actions. Chris Clor / Blend Images / Getty

Automobile collision avoidance systems operate under the guiding principle that even if an impending collision is unavoidable, the right corrective measures can reduce the severity of an accident. By reducing the severity of an accident, any damage to property and injuries or loss of life are similarly reduced. In order to accomplish this, collision avoidance systems use a variety of sensors that are capable of detecting unavoidable obstructions in front of a moving vehicle.

Depending on the particular system, if may then issue a warning to the driver or take any number of direct, corrective actions.

Why Have Automobile Collision Avoidance Systems Been Implemented?

Governmental agencies like the NHTSA and European Commission, in addition to third party organizations, perform regular studies on new safety technologies. In some cases, compelling evidence emerges that points to the potential for a new technology to save lives. In other cases, the results are less conclusive. Collision avoidance technologies have performed well in controlled studies, and research by the IIHS led to a determination that certain precrash technologies could have a huge impact on reducing rear end collisions.

Studies in the European Union have come to similar conclusions, and automobile collision avoidance system mandates were handed down by the European Commission in 2011. That ruling instituted a 2013 deadline for all new commercial vehicles to be fitted with automatic braking systems, although automakers were given until 2015 to incorporate the technology into passenger vehicles.

With that in mind, every major OEM has its own collision avoidance system technologies, which are available in both the EU and other markets.

How do Collision Avoidance Systems Work?

Most automobile collision avoidance systems draw on existing technologies. Since these systems require front-facing sensors, they often pull data from the same sensors that are used by an adaptive cruise control system.

Depending on the particular system, those sensors may use radar, lasers, or other techniques to map the physical space in front of a vehicle.

When it receives data from front-facing sensors, a collision avoidance system performs calculations to determine if there are any potential obstructions present. If the speed differential between the vehicle and any object in front of it is too great, then the system may be capable of performing a handful of different tasks. The simplest collision avoidance systems will issue a warning at this point, which will hopefully provide the driver with enough advanced warning to hit the brakes or steer away from the obstruction.

In some cases, the collision avoidance system may also pre-charge the brakes in conjunction with an automatic braking or emergency brake assist system.. That can provide the driver with a substantial amount of braking power the moment he depresses the pedal, which may effectively reduce the severity of an accident.

Some automobile collision avoidance systems are also capable of taking direct, corrective measures. If one of these systems determines that a collision is imminent, it can actually engage the brakes rather than simply pre-charging them.

Other systems, like ABS and electronic stability control, may also kick in to keep the vehicle from skidding, which can help the driver maintain control of the vehicle.

In addition to automatic braking, some collision avoidance and precrash systems can also include:

Who Offers Automobile Collision Avoidance Systems

Due to compelling evidence as to the efficacy of automobile collision avoidance systems, coupled with mandates from the European Commission, every major OEM has its own take on the collision avoidance system.

These systems typically aren’t available across every model, and some automakers only offer collision avoidance systems like automatic braking on their flagship vehicles or luxury models.

Was this page helpful?