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Andreas Scheuer in an HGV

Source: BMVI

How important are 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.

What is the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure doing?

  • For the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, road safety is a number one priority.
  • Therefore, the Ministry has been lobbying for years to use the potential offered by advanced emergency braking systems. The aim is to make these systems even safer and more effective.

    • From the perspective of the BMVI, an important starting point for improved protection against vehicle collisions and 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 is also confirmed by the results of the scientific study by the Federal Highway Research Institute.
    • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has long been campaigning for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for continuous further development and greater effectiveness of truck emergency braking assistance systems, i.e. for a significant tightening of technical regulations.
    • Due to the larger number of changes required to the corresponding technical regulation, a new group of experts was set up at the international level in September 2020 at the suggestion of the BMVI. The aim of this group of experts, led by Japan and Germany, is to increase the efficiency of emergency braking assistance systems. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will work to ensure that the first draft amendments are already available in autumn 2021 and that completed changes to regulations are also adopted at EU level at the earliest possible point in time, as these vehicles are type-approved in accordance with harmonized EU law.
    • From the perspective of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure it takes too long until the possibility to switch off an advanced emergency braking system is legally prohibited at the European level. Therefore we will be using the scope for national action wherever possible. Today, switching off advanced emergency braking systems is still allowed. The Ministry intends to change that by adopting a national provision that prohibits HGV drivers from switching off the advanced emergency braking systems when driving faster than 30 km/h. A corresponding draft ordinance has already been notified to the EU and is to be submitted to the Bundesrat in mid 2020.

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.
  • Hence, the investigation report of the Federal Highway Research Institute confirms the enormous potential of advanced emergency braking systems.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has already introduced the results in the form of proposals for amendment to the international bodies and will continue vigorously to push the topic forward. For instance, the Ministry has been lobbying at the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations (UNECE) for a long time to tighten the technical provision for advanced emergency braking systems for HGVs and make these systems even safer and more effective.
  • The German proposals made so far have met been with interest among many countries and – taking into account the findings of the investigation report of the Federal Highway Research Institute – are to be subject to intensified and targeted discussions with further experts at international level.
  • 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 of Transport and Digital Infrastructure 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 German proposals made so far on the revision of this technical provision have met with the interest among many contracting parties. However, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure was not able to succeed with its ambitious position concerning the possibility of switching of the systems at European and international levels due to the existing majorities.
  • The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will continue to actively contribute the findings of the concluded research project of the Federal Highway Research Institute to international discussions and press for tightening the technical requirements to be met by advanced emergency braking systems for HGVs in the international working groups, in particular the newly established expert group under German leadership.