Volvo first introduced its City Safety feature in 2008, marking the first time a production car could not only detect an impending impact but actually apply the brakes on its own to prevent a collision. As a sign of just how well it works, similar technology will become mandatory on all cars in Europe starting in 2014.
According to new regulations, as of 2014, only cars equipped with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) will be eligible for a five-star Euro NCAP safety racing. While this doesn’t strictly mean all cars will require AEB, any automaker wanting to achieve a top safety rating will include it.
AEB works through the use of radar, laser or video to “watch” the road ahead. If the vehicle is seen to be approaching another one (or an object) at too high a rate of speed, the system can prime the brakes in anticipation of their use, or even apply full braking should the driver not respond.
According to a study by the European Commission, vehicles fitted with AEB are involved in 27 percent fewer traffic accidents.
Currently just 21 percent of cars currently on sale in Europe are fitted with an auto-braking feature.