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February 4, 2022

Safety Institute To Add Nighttime AEB Test Starting This Year

One of the world’s toughest automotive safety tests is about to get even tougher. The U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) will now be adding nighttime testing for autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems starting this year.

Pedestrian AEB systems warn drivers when they’re at risk of hitting a pedestrian and apply the brakes if necessary to avoid or mitigate a crash.

Already, IIHS has spurred carmakers to improve their front crash prevention systems and make pedestrian detection available on more vehicles by introducing ratings for pedestrian AEB.

When IIHS made an advanced or superior rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention a requirement for the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards in 2019, the technology was only available on 3 out of 5 vehicles the Institute tested, and only 1 in 5 earned the highest rating of superior. Two years later, pedestrian AEB is available on nearly 9 out of 10 model year 2021 vehicles, and nearly half of the systems tested earn superior ratings.

Although pedestrian AEB was associated with a 27 percent reduction in pedestrian crash rates of all severities and a 30 percent reduction in injury crash rates, the IIHS found that in unlighted areas, there was no difference in the odds of a nighttime pedestrian crash for vehicles with and without the crash avoidance technology.

This points to shortcomings in AEBs in nighttime situations. Thus, the IIHS now plans to add nighttime pedestrian AEB tests and will publish the first ratings later this year.

In a lead up to the new battery of IIHS tests, the agency released its initial findings on several compact SUVs.

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