An accident in Paris involving a Tesla reminds us that automatic emergency braking remains fallible equipment.
In July 2019, Tesla touted its automatic emergency braking technology with tweets affirming the effectiveness of the technology designed to reduce the number of accidents on the roads. Automatic emergency braking – or AEBS (Advanced Emergency Braking System) – allows a car to brake on its own if it detects that a collision is imminent, including with a pedestrian. But a news item reported by Le Parisien on October 6 casts doubt on the effectiveness of the device.
The driver of a Model S lost control of his vehicle and was unable to avoid colliding with two pedestrians on the sidewalk. " A mad 30m race in which he tore off nine posts and damaged the front of a hairdressing salon », Specify our colleagues. You would think that the AEBS should have activated to prevent the tragedy, except that the technology is unfortunately far from foolproof.
Our next generation automatic emergency breaking system can even stop a car from hitting a pedestrian: pic.twitter.com/6B2wuEpGNn
– Tesla (@Tesla) July 4, 2019
How does automatic emergency braking work?
Automatic emergency braking, not to be confused with emergency braking assistance (which amplifies the driver's braking), will be mandatory in Europe on all new vehicles from 2022 – recalls Le Point in an article published in April 2019. It is based on sensors responsible for monitoring the surroundings and designed to alert the driver to the presence of an obstacle. If there is no human reaction, he must be able to take the hand to initiate the process of deceleration. The UN has defined a framework for use, including mandatory activation at a speed between 10 and 60 km / h.
However, while theory suggests that AEBS is a technology that is supposed to prevent all accidents, in practice there can still be biases. Tesla, directly affected by the collision in Paris, does not hide it. As Stuff recalls in an article published in May 2018, the American manufacturer often specifies that the AEBS will stop the car " in some cases »- which does not mean in all cases. Tesla says in its user manual that there are factors that can prevent the technology from operating normally. The bottom line: You don't always have to depend on AEBS to avoid the worst.
Quoted by Stuff, Andy Christensen, in charge of ProPilot technology at Nissan, gives a speech corroborating Tesla's position. According to him, the AEBS may not work because the system is trained to avoid confusion. " This technology aims to reduce stress and fatigue in heavy traffic or during a long journey on a quiet road. But it is still in development. People shouldn't have too high expectations ", Explains the person concerned. Due to evolve from year to year, the AEBS must take into account many factors before engaging, such as the speed of the vehicle, that of others, the type of obstacle (car, pedestrian, cyclist …) or even the environment. For engineers, this is a real headache. And, for manufacturers, there is work to be done on awareness-raising: it is necessary to insist on the fact that the driver must remain in control and that technology does not imply a sudden lack of vigilance. Especially when it still needs to be tweaked.
In this video produced by the Univers Tesla channel, we can see several scenarios and failures of the system. In reviews, other owners indicate that the EBS operates below 50 km / h.
The driver of the Model S who caused the crash in Paris may have been driving too fast for the EBS to be operational. According to the narrative, he first wanted to avoid a car on the road before he lost control " high speed ".
The continuation in video