What is an Automatic Braking System?« Back to Questions List

Automatic Braking System is an advanced computer controlled mechanism used to avoid high speed collisions. A brake is a mechanical device that slows down or stops a moving vehicle by applying friction. Automatic Braking System applies sensors and braking controls to avoid nasty smashes.  Such systems are capable of forewarning drivers of collision and taking necessary steps to prevent or reduce impact of accidents. Automatic Braking System in many cases functions as accident avoidance system. Automatic Braking System is also known as a forward collision warning system, or collision mitigating system.

Automatic Braking System reduces the speed of a vehicle in a controlled manner thereby decreasing the impact of collisions.  Most of the Automatic Braking Systems provides assistance to driver during application of brake, but some of the modern versions activate brakes even without intervention of driver. Such systems apply sensor inputs from lasers, radars, cameras or even video data.  Based on the inputs from sensors, computer system identifies objects present in the direction of movement of the vehicle, calculate the distance to the object, assess the relative speed of the vehicle with the object and automatically apply brake if collision is likely to occur. Some of such systems even rely on GPS data. Apart from providing warnings, such systems are even capable of auto adjusting tightness of seat belts and taking other damage preventive measures.  It also takes control of the vehicle and slows down or stops a vehicle if the driver does not respond.

The system employed in vehicles of different manufacturers may not be identical. But all Automatic Braking Systems function based on same principle of assessing and acting on data input by sensors.  A vigilant driver applies brake when an object is observed. Such a vigilant driver may not even notice the presence of an Automatic Braking System.  But, this mechanism is highly useful for saving lives during momentary lapse of concentration by drivers.  Automatic Braking Systems are highly helpful during distracted driving or a driver happens to fall asleep.

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Majority of leading automakers provide the advanced feature in at least one of their high end models. Honda and Mercedes-Benz were the first to provide such features. ABS was initially introduced during 2002-03. BMW in 2007 launched a vehicle with Automatic Braking System that was capable of bringing the vehicle to complete halt on its own.

An agreement between major automakers and the US government makes Automatic Braking System, a standard feature on most cars by 2022. This may lead to fast adoption of this technology.  Automakers are expected to include this feature as a standard facility unlike at present. Now the technology is offered as an option.  Cars with automatic braking are expected to bring down rear-end crashes by about 40 percent.  That is exactly the reason for describing Automatic Braking System as the biggest safety advancement since electronic stability control. Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)


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