• fb_1510606196 avatar Carl Posted: 11/30/2009 7:12pm PST

    Years ago, when trying to justify the use of Antilock Brake Systems (ABS), We had to accept that we could not justify the cost by claiming that better brakes would reduce the number of collisions. The ABS would permit the driver to retain directional control when braking hard during an emergency. But the system could not be counted on to make the car stop so much shorter as to avoid the collision. So, why advocate the ABS, which was not cheap, and would not make any difference during normal braking?
    The importance of ABS is that it prevented the rear wheels from locking up and causing the vehicle to spin sideways. The ABS also kept the front wheels turning so that steering was effective. The real benefit of ABS was that the car would crash head-first, in a situation where the structural crashworthiness and occupant restraints (seatbelts and/or air bags) would result in the least injuries.
    I am sure that the new round of accident avoidance (AA) enhancements will be like that. At first, people will doubt there is much justification for the cost. Pros like me know that AA does not have a YES/NO effect, but gradually the benefits will accumulate.

  • fb_1510606196 avatar Carl Posted: 11/30/2009 7:42pm PST

    I just thought of another subtle benefit of computer-assisted Accident Avoidance (AA) technology. I assume that today every vehicle has a braking feature named “Braking Assist” (BA). The name does not describe the benefit. The system simply recognizes that when the driver presses on the brake pedal very quickly, that it is due to an emergency, and the power braking system applies the brakes quickly and forcefully. That is good because research established that many drivers won’t brake that hard. Since ABS prevents the wheels from locking up, the BA means that full braking effort begins sooner, so the speed of the collision is reduced.

    So what? The injury and deformation forces of a collision are proportional to the SQUARE of the speed. A frontal crash of 25 mph reduced to 22 mph has this ratio of “injury”: 25 squared is 625; 21 squared is 441. Thus crashing 4 mph slower reduce the hurt to 70 percent. Over the years, benefits like that will add up.

  • Patz avatar Patz Posted: 9/9/2013 8:50pm PDT

    When observing the TV ads for Infiniti the option appears to create another danger when applying a breaking system that could potentially cause any vehicle not equipped with the same option to then slam into it when the brakes are applied.