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Source: Fotolia / Manfred Steinbach

Importance of advanced emergency braking systems

  • An advanced emergency braking system is a proactive driver assistance system that warns the driver of the risk of a collision and independently performs an emergency braking manoeuvre. It can particularly help to avoid rear-end collisions with HGVs.
  • Advanced emergency braking systems depend on the vehicle category and design and, since November 2013, have been introduced gradually throughout the EU. In November 2018, this introduction was concluded and advanced emergency braking systems have been mandatory across the EU for certain HGVs and buses (new vehicles and new types) ever since.

Activities of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport

  • For the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, road safety is a number one priority.

  • Since years, the Ministry has therefore been working towards exploiting the full potential offered by advanced emergency braking systems. These continuous efforts are aimed at making these systems safer and more effective.

    • From the perspective of the BMDV, an important starting point for improved protection against road traffic accidents and i.p. rear-end collisions is therefore the adaptation of the technical requirements for emergency braking assistance systems - especially with regard to the performance of these systems. This has also been confirmed by research results of a scientific study by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt).

    • Based on the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) to set higher requirements for driver assistance systems in trucks and buses, new specifications for emergency brake assistance were adopted at UNECE level in July 2022. The specifications, which were previously drawn up by an international group of experts under German and Japanese leadership, take into account the improved state of the art of emergency braking systems, which were researched in the BASt study. The new specifications will make emergency brake assistants even safer and more effective

      Among other things, it was decided that in future the systems would switch on earlier if there was a risk of an accident. If a heavy goods vehicle threatens to hit a stationary vehicle, the speed is massively reduced. This can save lives, especially at the end of a traffic jam.

      Another new feature is that emergency braking assistants should no longer only be effective on motorways: the new generation of emergency brake assistants must be able to recognize pedestrians as well as vehicles. This expands the area of application of truck emergency braking assistance systems to inner-city areas for the first time.

      The changes apply under international law at UN level from September 2025 for new vehicle types and from September 2028 for all new vehicles. In a further step, these international regulations must be converted into binding EU law. Vehicle manufacturers can basically apply these new requirements at UN level as soon as they come into force and thus voluntarily bring improved systems onto the market earlier.

      In a further step, these regulations still have to be implemented into binding law within the EU. The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport will continue its efforts at European level to ensure that the new requirements and implementation deadlines are also timely anchored as mandatory within the framework of EU vehicle type approval.

What are the results of the investigation of the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt)?

  • The aim of the study by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) was to investigate the potential of emergency brake assistants - in particular through test drives.
  • During the tests, the efficiency of advanced emergency braking systems for HGVs, e.g., the reduction of speed in case of imminent collisions and their ability to detect stationary vehicles were analysed.
  • It was also examined in real-world road traffic under what conditions it would actually make sense to switch off the systems – which is still permissible at the moment – and whether they should be reactivated automatically afterwards.

    The investigation shows:

    • Due to the technical evolvement of advanced emergency braking systems, in case of imminent collisions, speed can be reduced increasingly faster than before. Therefore, in an increasing number of situations, collisions can be avoided completely. In particular, at the end of tailbacks, systems are far more efficient than they have to be in accordance with EU-wide provisions.
    • During the investigation, no cases of a false warning or false braking on the motorway were found, with the exception of a few cases at construction sites.
    • However, due to the progressive development, it can be assumed that, in the future, advanced emergency braking systems will be able to master complex situations at construction sites as well. The systems are becoming ever more efficient, which is mainly due to the combination of sensors and corresponding software.
  • The investigation report of the Federal Highway Research Institute confirms the outstanding potential of advanced emergency braking systems. The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport has introduced some research results as proposed changes in international committees, which resulted in new requirements for emergency braking assistance systems in the new UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) expert group.

  • The Federal Highway Research Institute has published the report in February 2020 on their homepage.

Applicable international rules:

  • Vehicle type approval for passenger cars, HGVs, buses and coaches has been harmonised throughout the EU.
  • The EU type approval regulations (depending on the date of approval either Directive 2007/46 / EC or Regulation (EU) 2018/858) create a harmonized framework with the administrative regulations as well as general technical requirements for the approval of all new vehicles falling within their scope as well as those in these vehicles for the use of certain systems, components and independent technical units. This directive or regulation must be bindingly applied in all EU member states.
  • In order to implement these type approval regulations, special technical requirements for the construction and operation of vehicles are laid down in legal acts. Therefore, in the context of the EU type approval, in addition to the corresponding EU legal acts, certain UN regulations also apply. Annex IV of Directive 2007/46 / EC and Annex II of Regulation (EU) 2018/858 each contain a complete list of these legal acts. Regulation (EC) No. 661/2009 and Regulation (EU) 2019/2144 stipulate the corresponding series of amendments to be applied to the respective technical requirements.
  • Regulation (EC) No. 661/2009 made emergency braking assistance systems mandatory for certain trucks and certain buses (vehicles of classes N2, N3, M2 and M3).
  • Since 1 November 2013, advanced emergency braking systems have been generally introduced gradually for new vehicle types of the categories mentioned – depending on vehicle category and design. The introduction was concluded on 1 November 2018.
  • With the technical advances made in highly developed vehicle safety systems, new possibilities will be opened up to further reduce the number of accidents and injured people.
  • Therefore, in the future, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will have to be equipped with advanced emergency braking systems as well. On 5 January 2020, Regulation (EU) No 2019/2144 on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users entered into force. On 6 July 2022, the Regulation will become mandatory in all EU member states. More information on this topic can be found here.

Additional information:

  • Since 2017, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport has already introduced several proposals to adapt UN Regulation No 131 – Uniform provisions concerning the approval of motor vehicles with regard to the Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS).

  • The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport has actively introduced the findings of the research project of the Federal Highway Research Institute to international discussions and thus tightened the technical requirements to be met by advanced emergency braking systems for HGVs in the international working groups, in particular the newly established group of experts under German leadership.