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Active Braking Systems

Active braking systems are a new safety technology that provide drivers with braking support during emergency situations.

How do Active Braking Systems work?

There are many versions of active braking systems, providing differing degrees of braking support. Preliminary systems, such as Brake Assist, measure the speed and force of brake application to determine whether the driver is attempting an emergency stop. If such an emergency is determined, the system applies additional brake pressure to allow the driver to take full advantage of the Antilock Braking System (ABS) which prevents wheel lock up.

More advanced systems such as Volvo’s Collision Warning with Brake Support and Mercedes Brake Assist System Plus, use radar and or cameras to scan ahead of the car for moving and stationary hazards. If a potential collision is detected, audiovisual warnings are provided to the driver and the brakes are primed ready for maximum application.

Volvo Distance Alert Long-Range Radar2.jpg

Volvo's Collision Warning with Brake Support uses radar and or camera's to scan ahead of the car for moving and stationary hazards - Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars Australia

The latest systems such as Mercedes Benz PreSafe and Volvo’s Collision Avoidance with Auto Brake, have the added safety and security of an additional feature which allows the car to automatically apply the brakes to slow the car if the driver does not respond to repeated warnings and the system detects an unavoidable collision.

Volvo Collision Warning w Auto Brake
Volvo’s Collision Avoidance with Auto Brake can automatically apply the brakes to slow the car - Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars Australia

How will Active Braking Systems help me?

Active braking can be of assistance to the driver by:

  • preventing rear collisions by assisting with maximum brake force in emergency situations
  • warning of the potential for a collision with an upcoming car or obstacle
  • preventing rear collisions by partially applying the braking and assisting with maximum brake force in emergency situations

 

Why do I need it?

Studies on active braking have estimated substantial road safety benefits as a result of decreased stopping distances:

  • Active Braking Systems can reduce stopping distances by 45% in simulator trials
  • Preliminary radar based systems were shown to reduce crash rates by 75%
  • Partial automatic braking prevented a collision in 70% of cases

 

Are Active Braking Systems commercially available?

Preliminary Active Braking Systems such as Brake Assist are becoming increasingly available on modern passenger cars. Radar based systems are a new technology that are currently only available on luxury model cars. Mainstream manufacturers have expressed an ongoing interest in making this innovative and effective road safety technology more readily available in future models.