Crash Avoidance

Advanced Technologies

Crash Warning

NHTSA’s work in crash warning systems continues, and the agency recently launched a large, 2,800 vehicle field study involving production crash warning systems from leading vehicle manufacturers. These vehicles are equipped with both FCW and LDW systems and with varying driver warning methodologies (or modalities). NHTSA will monitor the operation and driver use of these systems for a 1-year period to help better understand safety potential, driver acceptance, possible adaptation and reliance behavior, and overall technology reliability issues. NHTSA has also recently launched a smaller companion field study of production-level crash warning systems using very highly instrumented vehicles (including video recording of driver and their surroundings) to augment the larger field study.

NHTSA is also evaluating Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems being implemented in some production vehicles. We are testing such systems under controlled test track conditions to determine performance under a variety of kinematic conditions.

NHTSA recognizes that the safety benefits of such warning systems is directly related to the effectiveness of the crash warning interface to draw the attention of the driver to the crash- imminent situation, and to illicit the appropriate response. NHTSA is there­fore engaged in considerable research related to evaluating effectiveness of alterative collision warning inter­face designs and implementations, as well as procedures for gauging such effectiveness. This work is collectively referred to as the Collision Warning Interface Metrics (CWIM) program, and is discussed in more detail in the Human Factor Research section.

DOT HS 812 247 Large-Scale Field Test of Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning Systems February 2016

This report covers a field study of vehicle crash warning technologies using an innovative large-scale data collection technique for gathering information about the crash avoidance systems and how drivers respond to them. Although the specific system studied was the General Motors camera-based forward collision alert and lane departure warning system, this technique could be applied to other emerging active safety crash avoidance systems.

The study team found that this data collection technique has several strengths including cost, sample size, and naturalistic testing by having drivers using their own vehicles where they can adjust system settings or even turn systems off. The technique allowed researchers to study possible long-term changes in how drivers adapt to such systems, and to acquire “rapid-turnaround” large-scale results in an efficient manner.

Active Braking

Crash Avoidance technology has continued to progress, and NHTSA is aggressively pursuing research related to technologies that, in addition to warning drivers of a collision threat, can take active control of the vehicle to help mitigate or avoid the crash (if warnings are not heeded by the driver, or the driver’s reaction is insufficient to avoid the crash). In particular, NHTSA is focusing its efforts on dynamic brake system (DBS) and collision imminent braking (CIB) technologies being offered by light vehicle OEMs. Such systems employ radar, camera, lidar and other sensor technologies to detect and track vehicles, pedestrians or objects in the forward path.

DBS technology serves to increase braking effort initiated by the driver during collision-imminent situations if the driver’s response is determined (by the system) to be insufficient to avoid the collision. CIB systems will operate to automatically energize the brakes in crash imminent situation if the driver does not respond at all to the warnings. NHTSA is currently evaluating the performance of such systems in a variety of crash scenarios and under controlled test conditions. We are also developing objective test procedures and associated test equipment including a strike-able “surrogate” target vehicle to simulate an actual in-path lead vehicle.

In July 2012, the agency published a Request for Comments seeking feed­back on our observations about DBS and CIB technologies, as well as consideration of test protocols that could be used to test their effectiveness. NHTSA is in the process of evaluating industry and public feedback while advancing our research related to safety benefits analysis, test procedures, and overall reliability and operation of automatic braking systems.

Objective Tests for Forward Looking Pedestrian Crash Avoidance/Mitigation Systems, DOT HS 812 040, June 2014
Objective Tests for Automatic Crash Imminent Braking (CIB) Systems - Final Report, DOT HS 811 521, September 2011
Objective Tests for Automatic Crash Imminent Braking (CIB) Systems - Appendix, DOT HS 811 521A, September 2011
A Test Track Protocol for Assessing Forward Collision Warning Driver-Vehicle Interface Effectiveness, DOT HS 811 501, July 2011
Crash Imminent Braking (CIB) Second  Annual Report, sponsored by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, June 2010, DOT HS 811 341
Crash Imminent Braking (CIB) First Annual Report, DOT HS 811 340, June 2010
Human Performance Evaluation of Light Vehicle Brake Assist Systems: Final Report, DOT HS 811 251, April 2010

Pedestrian Detection

While the majority of our research efforts to date have been focused on DBS and CIB systems that detect and react to other vehicles and objects, NHTSA is also pursuing research related to advanced systems that are also capable of pedestrian detection, warning and automatic emergency braking. We are currently working with several industry partners (principally through the Collision Avoidance Metric Partnership, CAMP) to evaluate a variety of leading-edge pedestrian detection technologies that can both warn and automatically apply the brakes if the system detects a pedestrian collision is imminent. Our work first focused on a detailed analysis and profile of pedestrian crash scenarios using both existing crash databases as well as information collected through a real-world field study coordinated by CAMP. We then developed a variety of test procedures to parallel (or represent) high frequency crash scenarios observed from the earlier study. We also have been working with industry partners to develop standardized pedestrian test dummies and movement apparatus to improve the accuracy and repeatability of our testing. Next steps will include the development of objective test procedures for pedestrian detection systems.

Image: Dynamic Research, Inc.-Honda R&D Co., Ltd. (DRI-Honda) Advanced Collision Mitigation Braking System - Advanced Crash Avoidance Technologies Project

Crash Avoidance Needs and Countermeasure Profiles for Safety Applications Based on Light Vehicle-to-Pedestrian Communications (DOT HS 812 312)
This study will help support the development of V2P based collision avoidance technologies and examined the GES and FARS crash databases in order to classify 21 pedestrian pre-crash scenarios based on different vehicle and pedestrian maneuvers. These scenarios were ranked based on associated costs and five priority scenarios were selected that represent 88 percent of pedestrian crash costs. For the priority scenarios crash contributing factors were examined and quantified to identify common occurrences in crashes, including physical settings, environmental conditions, and driver and pedestrian characteristics. Kinematic equations describing the crash scenarios were also derived and exercised to obtain estimates of the minimum stopping distances for various vehicle velocities and braking levels. The goal of this study was to develop an updated understanding of the pedestrian crash problem and the potential of V2P technology to address pedestrian crashes.
See Also:
NHTSA's Pedestrian Safety

Safety Benefits

Volvo Car Corporation-Ford Motor Company-University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Lane Departure Warning Advanced Crash Avoidance Technologies Project

Rather than waiting for years of crash data to accumulate, estimating the safety benefits of new crash avoidance systems is an important ongoing research area for NHTSA. NHTSA has been working with industry partners to develop leading-edge modeling and analytical techniques to help estimate and forecast how changes in system performance attributes may affect safety benefits. In 2009 NHTSA completed four projects with teams led by automobile manufacturers which focused on estimating the safety benefits of technologies that address frontal crash mitigation (primarily rear-end crashes), backover prevention, and lane departure warning. In June 2011, NHTSA completed two remaining projects with teams led by automobile manufacturers, which focused on technologies that address head-on crash mitigation, lane departure prevention, and blind spot detection. We are currently assessing these different approaches to deter¬mine advantages and disadvantages, relationship to real world field experience, and planning next steps.