The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is looking at increasing the speed it carries out crash tests after achieving its goal of making AEB systems virtually universal.
Under the voluntary commitment brokered by IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 12 out of 20 major automobile manufacturers equipped nearly all the light vehicles they produce for the U.S. market with AEB last year — well ahead of the September 2022 target.
Currently the IIHS simulates front-to-rear crashes in which a vehicle approaches another vehicle stopped in the road at both 12 and 25 mph. When the test program was being developed, the goal was to promote the adoption of functional front crash prevention systems, and research tests showed that those that performed best at 12 and 25 mph also did best at higher speeds.
“Thankfully, in the real world, AEB systems are preventing crashes at higher speeds than the maximum 25 mph our test program uses,” said IIHS Senior Research Scientist David Kidd, the author of a new paper. “The problem is that our current evaluation doesn’t tell us how well specific systems perform at those speeds.”
The organization said about 85 percent of the 2022 model year vehicles evaluated earned a “superior” rating.
Based on the new study, IIHS plans to conduct research tests on six vehicles equipped with different front crash prevention systems at speeds up to 45 mph. Tests will also be conducted using different types of passenger vehicles and other vehicles like a motorcycle and various sizes of trucks as the stationary vehicle.
At 45 mph, the evaluation would be relevant to 43 percent of police-reported rear-end crashes and 12 percent of fatal rear-end crashes, which occur at or below that travel speed.