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TRL: all European cars to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking

The UK’s TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) reports that new regulations soon to be brought in by the European Commission will mean that all new cars will be fitted with autonomous emergency braking technology (AEB). TRL has carried out several analyses of AEBS (Advanced Emergency Braking Systems) and LDWS (Lane Departure Warning Systems) for the European Commission.

AEB systems work using radar, lidar (laser) or video technology, which sends a signal to warn the driver of a collision about to occur and primes the brakes. Some versions of the technology are also able to deal with collisions likely to occur when vehicles are travelling at a higher speed. These systems will also be able to see if a pedestrian has ventured onto the road and apply the brakes before impact.

A study into the technology carried out by the European Commission shows that road traffic accidents could be cut by 27%, with a saving of up to 8,000 lives each year.

Our studies indicate that the resulting reduction in congestion due to accidents would represent an economic value of about €100 million (£78.5 million) in Germany alone.

—Philippe Jean, head of the Automotive Industry unit in Enterprise and Industry

Jean has announced that all commercial vehicles will have to have the technology fitted by November next year to gain European Type Approval. Further to this it has been suggested that a similar strategy be adopted with regard to passenger vehicles too.

Euro NCAP, the crash test organisation, has pointed out that 79% of the cars currently on sale in Europe are not fitted with the technology. From 2014 Euro NCAP will include AEB in its assessment, making it practically impossible for any model not fitted with the technology to achieve a five-star rating.

We don’t want to force them [car makers] into this immediately, but we’ve made it very clear that the best way to ensure a five-star rating from 2014 is to have AEB on the vehicle.

—Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP




I'd like to see pedestrian air bags as part of the 5 star standard too.
The emphasis has been all on the occupants of the cars, at the expense of other road users, for far too long.


Interesting technology. I'm sure it adds to the weight of the vehicle, and therefore decreases fuel economy somewhat.

I drove a Mercedes for a while with an early version of such a system. That car was impossible to drive in a spirited manner, as my hard braking was always interpreted as a panic situation. If I rapidly applied the brakes, the car would attempt a "maximum braking effort" event, bringing the car nearly to a stop. Infuriating.

It was funny to demonstrate this to friends. But, annoying to live with.

Interesting thoughts about the pedestrian air bags. That, could allow a change to the ugly "required" nose shape of modern European cars to something more pleasing. While still maintaining pedestrian safety.


A first step in the right direction to compensate for many driver inadequacies. Many more driver assistance is required to stop killing 200,000 people and 5 to 8 times as many seriously injured every year.

This unchecked carnage has been going on for too long.

One thousand (+/-) well located road/street side smart radar cameras per million drivers and stiffer fines could also help to correct bad driver habits without adding on-board weight and extra cost.

The cost of those radar cameras can be recovered in a few months and can reduce road accidents by over 65%. It could also create a few thousand welcomed new jobs.


To pay for the purchase and installation of the new radar cameras, a $15M loan could get the ball rolling and finance the fist 1000+ units for the best locations. The revenues from the first batch could finance the next batch etc etc.


This is another in a long list of needless devices that just increases Vehicle cost. There is an infinite number of safety devices that could be added. There is nothing that can be added to limit stupid operators or pedestrians The only option would be to enforce and make a max 10 mph speed limit.


It always struck me that people would have a lot of fun with automatic braking systems, like throwing a black bin bag in front of a car to see if it will stop.

You could argue that they won't, because they don't do it now, but an automatic system might be more fun to play with.

Harvey raises a good question - how far should a country go to increase road safety, at the expense of creating a (robot) police state.

I would prefer systems in cars that prevent you breaking the speed limit (for more than a few seconds at a time). This should be easy to do not that GPS is inexpensive and ubiquitous. (You could make the system disable-able).

Otherwise a careless drive could end up in a blizzard of tickets.

Bob Wallace

cujet - sensors are very light weight. Cars already have CPUs.

Jimr - the small amount of additional cost for adding the system is likely to be offset by lower insurance premiums.

These auto-breaking systems are exactly what we need to protect ourselves from drunk/distracted drivers. And I say that as someone who had been seriously injured twice by drunk drivers and hit once by a distracted driver while I was walking on the shoulder of the road .

One of my drunk-caused wrecks cost insurance companies well over $150,000. That would pay for a lot of inexpensive sensor systems.

Bob Wallace

When I go to town I drive about 30 miles of mountain highway. Deer kills are very common, I wouldn't be surprised if the average is one per week.

Each of those deer hits is a repair bill for individuals or insurance companies. And sometimes the people in the car get killed. That has value as well.

A three stage system makes sense to me. First, alert the driver. A tone coming from the direction of the danger might work. Next stage, pre-load the brakes. Last stage, let the car stop itself. We put 'dead man' switches in our trains.


Bob, your driving along on an interstate with bumper to bumper traffic at 65 mph. A cat leaps into the roadway. You have no option, you will be rear ended.


I realize bumper to bumper at 65 is a little over the top, but you know what I mean. Not all cars will have this feature for several years.


Another example of dumb ideas is placing speakers in the grill to make noise that pedestrians could hear as a quiiet car is approaching. More noise pollution.


BW...simple wire mesh fences stop dears from crossing roads (in the wrong places) specially in the evening and creating serious accidents.

New highways have built in dear crossings under the road. Dears learn very quickly to use them. Older roads can easily be updated. If done on higher grounds, a simple re-enforced corrugated steel tunnel-pipe does a good job.


@Harvey - it is deer.
The old ladies generally do not run onto the highway.

Bob Wallace

Harvey - wire fences along tens of thousands of miles of roads - not happening.

Deer underpasses - I don't think you've thought that through.

Perhaps you should get outside the city once in a while.


Jmir -

If you're driving along "bumper to bumper" at 65 in computer linked cars and the need to stop in a hurry occurs, all the cars in the "train" will stop within nanoseconds of each other. Only the "initial detector" car will get the message to stop sooner than the others.

Auto braking triggered by tail lights coming on. Later on, cars will 'talk' to each other.

Computers will maintain the minimum extra distance needed plus a safety factor.

People who don't have automatic braking systems would be breaking the law if they were driving too close to stop. Eventually all those cars will be off the highway, except during antique car parades.

(I think what you might be saying is that you have no problem driving over a cat or other animal. I'm not joining you there.)

RE: adding a bit of noise to otherwise 'silent at slow speed EVs' - what is dumb to you is smart to everyone else. You might want to think about that for a while.


Deerfences along the Autobahn are common in Germany. So are green-bridges instead of deer underpasses (see for example;art914,1503838).

The green bridges alone will not prevent accidents. But they will ensure genetic variety in the wild populations by allowing animals to cross major roadways despite the fences.

I cannot imagine similar fencing along all of US highways, though. Just far too many miles ... .

best regards

Bob Wallace

I was thinking about deer fences along US roads as I drove to town yesterday. (Great blues festival, BTW.)

So many driveways and ranch/farm roads along the way. Who would make sure the gates got closed?

Several small gravel forest roads entering the highway. Going to run fences along all them as well or put automatic gates at the junctions?


Auto braking could lead to more rear-enders and more delays and MY study says it could represent an economic loss of about €100 million (£78.5 million) in Germany alone. [Wait; in Germany? This is a UK proposal.]

"UK’s TRL has carried out several analyses . ."


"A study . . shows that road traffic accidents could be cut by 27%, with a saving of up to 8,000 lives each year."

Oh well, that proves it !.

But choking back the paranoia, as long as the don't force car makers into this immediately, before they are sure their beloved system does not kill and cost more than it saves, the reality is that it will certainly save live and private industry will make the cost nominal.

BUT, still - I want to be an early adopter - I will get a REALLY strong rear bumper.

Naysayers beware . .

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