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No matter how diligent a driver you are, every so often a situation might arise which you are unprepared to deal with.

These sorts of hazards occur more frequently in cities than in any other driving environment, where the potential for distractions and sudden dangers to arise with little or no time for the driver to react.

Even then, many drivers are unaware of the capability of their cars and don’t apply sufficient braking pressure in these split-second situations. That’s why many manufacturers have introduced what is known as Emergency City Braking to their latest models.

The first application of the system was in the 1990s Mercedes S-Class. Similar systems now feature in a variety of modern cars under various guises. Volkswagen City Emergency Brake, Fords Active City Stop, Land Rovers Intelligent Emergency Braking and Volvo’s City Safety all work to very similar principles. But how exactly do they work, and when should you expect them to intervene?

The Tech Info

Autonomous Emergency Braking systems rely on several means of scanning the road ahead for potential hazards. These invariably use radar, stereo cameras or laser scanning. The data gathered from these systems is combined with the car’s speed and direction to calculate whether or not a collision with another car/pedestrian/obstacle is imminent.

If the system believes an impact is likely, the driver will be alerted via an audible warning system and light on the dashboard. The system primes the brakes and anti-lock system to make them more sensitive when the driver applies them. If the driver doesn’t take the necessary action to avoid the danger, the system will then intervene.

Most versions are capable of applying full braking force, and in the case of a sudden hazard, can react far more quickly than a human is capable of doing. The end result won’t necessarily avoid a collision altogether (though in many instances it will) but at the very least will vastly reduce the severity of an accident.

With increasing traffic and footfall in our cities we warmly welcome any innovative safety systems.

For more information on emergency braking systems please email Chris@gwacars.com

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