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Study using real-world data finds low speed autonomous emergency braking leads to 38% reduction in rear-end crashes

A study by a team of researchers from Europe, Australia and New Zealand has found that Low Speed AEB (autonomous emergency braking) technology leads to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes. The study, published in the journal of Accident Analysis & Prevention, also found that there is no significant difference between urban and rural crash benefits. The study also concluded that Low Speed AEB technology needs widespread fitment for maximum benefits.

Autonomous Emergency Braking is one of the more promising safety technologies that is becoming increasingly common on modern passenger cars. The low speed option normally consists of an automatic brake function that operates for speeds up to 30 km/h or 50 km/h (18.6 mph and 31 mph). Previous studies have predicted significant expected benefits of AEB technology in low speed rear-end crashes but, so far, there has been little evidence that they really work.

Real-world evaluations of advanced safety systems are often limited by slow take-up rates, insufficient crash data and lower crash rates of new, safer vehicles. Euro NCAP, with support of ANCAP—the independent safety bodies for Europe and Australasia—initiated the Validating Vehicle Safety through Meta-Analysis (VVSMA) group that brings together experts from governments, industry, consumer and insurance organizations.

The group pooled data from five European countries plus Australia using a standard analysis format and a novel prospective meta-analysis approach. Induced exposure methods were adopted to control for any extraneous effects.

The findings showed a 38% overall reduction in real-world, rear-end crashes for vehicles fitted with low speed AEB compared to a sample of equivalent vehicles with no AEB. There was no statistical difference found between urban (≤60 km/h) and rural (>60 km/h) speed zones.

The meta-analysis approach used in this analysis is a unique academic contribution to the evaluation of vehicle safety technologies internationally and proved to be reliable with robust findings. Clearly, at this level of effectiveness, low speed AEB is potentially an important active safety technology and widespread fitment through the vehicle fleet should be encouraged in the interest of improved vehicle safety.

—Dr. Anders Lie, group chairman from the Swedish Transport Administration


  • B. Fildes, M. Keall, N. Bos, A. Lie, Y. Page, C. Pastor, L. Pennisi, M. Rizzi, P. Thomas, C. Tingvall (2015) “Effectiveness of low speed autonomous emergency braking in real-world rear-end crashes,” Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 81, Pages 24-29 doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2015.03.029


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