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Government should fund AEB incentive: Thatcham

Tuesday 16th September 2014

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is “so important to the future of road safety” that the government should fund a financial incentive to increase the number of cars with it, according to Thatcham Research.

Thatcham Research, the UK insurance motor safety and security research centre, says that with AEB the “notoriously high first-year crash rates of young drivers could become a distant memory”.

Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said: “One in four drivers will have a crash within six months of gaining their licence.

“Even if nobody is injured and no other car damaged, it’s a blow to the driver’s confidence and hits their insurance premium hard the next year, adding around £600 to the typical premium of £2,000 for a 17-year-old.

“If the driver avoids a crash in the first year, the premium comes down rapidly in the second and subsequent years.”

Peter Shaw continued: “AEB is being hailed as ‘the new seatbelt’ for its potential to reduce injuries. But AEB cuts low speed crashes by 20% and is most effective at these low speeds where more than 75% of crashes occur.

“It is so important to the future of road safety, we believe the government should fund a financial incentive to increase the number of cars with AEB.”

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Another warning light on the dashboard that if it does not go out when the engine is started, then your car fails the MOT. Most garages cannot fix these intermittent and evasive electrical faults and if they do, at enormous cost to the owner, who is usually on a tighter budget than those buying new vehicles.

Fine for the manufacturers to lobby the EU for mandatory fitment to help boost profits, just like many other 'widgets' that have to be fitted in the name of safety, but under normal driving, never come into play. Plus of course it makes drivers even more 'isolated' from the actual act of concentrating on their driving.
Terry Hudson, Kent

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)
+1

I don't think it should be dismissed on the grounds that it won't help in every scenario one can think of - it doesn't claim to. Also, the blurb says it only operates up to 16mph anyway.

I'm sure it will prevent some collisions that otherwise would have occured, so it needs to be encouraged. I presume if proven, one day it will be mandatory on vehicles anyway like certain safety features we now take for granted.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (2)
+2

Interesting, but I doubt its potential. Its range and field of view will be very narrow. It's not going to help drivers of cars that pull out in front of motorcycles. It's not going to help pedestrians who jump into the road about 2 meters before a car travelling at 40mph. It's not going to help cyclists when cars turning left cut across the front of them.
Michael H

Agree (4) | Disagree (6)
-2

I would prefer it to be incorporated with a frontal distance device which gives a green/amber/red indicator perhaps with a sound device on the amber then altering on the red. Then drivers will be made aware to keep safer distance between vehicles.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)
+5

AEB cannot estimate the level of grip available to the tyres, and if it brakes very hard and very late then there will be instances in which it cannot stop the vehicle in time. In order for it not to operate as one overtakes vehicles on roads with multiple lanes, the angle of the radar will be very narrow and directly in front of the vehicle, so it will be very late in detecting problems which appear from the sides.
David, Suffolk

Agree (6) | Disagree (2)
+4

Could it not be argued Dave that the non-driving taxpayer will benefit as a pedestrian by not being hit at some point in the future by a vehicle which, without AEB might not have been able to stop? Could equally apply to other publicly funded road safety initiatives as well of course.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (7)
-2

AEB is a commercial product which, if it's as good as claimed, new car buyers will pay extra for. If new car buyers are not convinced, why should citizens who don't drive be forced to subsidise a product that the drivers who have it don't want?

How much is AEB as an option for a new car buyer and, if tax-payers have to subsidise it, how much are we expected to pay? It does sound like a useful feature and it could be fun trying it out as in the picture. I'll bet that test raises the heart rate!
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (8) | Disagree (6)
+2

I was relieved to see in Thatcham's press release: “These systems brake very hard, very late,” says Peter Shaw. “This is intentional and quite uncomfortable so that drivers do not become reliant on it to avoid around-town accidents." AEB is a more acceptable alternative to fully driverless cars referred to recently. At the same time I hope this doesn't mean we're going to give up on trying to improve the drivers themselves.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)
+5