VW commercial vans will have autonomous emergency braking feature as standard

Article by Christian A., on June 2, 2017

Commercial vehicles have always been late to the game when it comes to cutting-edge technologies in the automotive business compared to passenger vehicles. The American automaker, Ford, had an important breakthrough with its 13th-gen F150 by fitting it with second-row inflatable seat belts. However, we will not be talking about Ford, but instead we will be setting our sights on the brand new system offering of Volkswagen. The important tech is the Autonomous Emergency Braking feature that will be made available on the Caddy, Transporter and Crafter vans as standard equipment for orders that come in on June 1 of this year and onwards.

There’s no doubt that autonomous braking is really a very useful feature to avoid a vehicular collision but these systems are typically offered as an option. However, we applaud Volkswagen for making this move as it will be the first ever auto manufacturer to equip their commercial vans with autonomous emergency braking as standard. It's the latest in a series of steps to standardize the feature across the board.

The recent Euro NCAP crash test requires an effective AEB system to be able to score max points, and vehicles which don't have crash avoidance techs are fined. Due to this, it's uncommon for new vehicles to not be equipped with the system. Starting June 1st, those who will order a Caddy, Transporter or Crafter van units will be fitted with the aforementioned safety feature without needing to mark an option box. Sarah Cox, VW's head of marketing for commercial vehicles, indicated that producing safe, dependable vans has been at the heart of their company for over 60 years.

She further added that tech is now developing at a speed and the company is continually finding more and better ways to keep drivers safe while on the road. She also said how proud the company was for being the first automaker to offer AEB on commercial vans as standard, as this translates to safer vehicles cruising on the roads. This leads to reduced accidents, smaller costs for operators and possibly fewer lives lost. Studies have revealed that autonomous emergency braking slashes 3rd party injury insurance claims by around 45 percent, Volkswagen disclosed.

Thatcham Research, a UK based research center, recognized such features as being the most valuable vehicle safety advancement since the seat belt, further implicating that emergency braking largely contributes to road safety by preventing 120,000 casualties in the next 10 years.

Peter Shaw, Thatcham Research Chief Exec, commented that it is rather surprising that the aforementioned AEB has not been widely offered to van owners or drivers previously until now, and they call upon all automakers to follow the German automaker's step, and equip AEB across all light commercial vehicles as standard as soon as possible. For the meantime, the standard issue braking system is assigned to commercial vehicles in markets that are located outside the United States. The German automaker's line-up of commercial vans is not available in North America.

Press Release

SAFETY, FIRST : VOLKSWAGEN COMMERCIAL VEHICLES LEADS THE WAY WITH AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING NOW STANDARD ON ALL VANS

Volkswagen is to become the first commercial vehicle brand to fit all its vans with autonomous emergency braking systems (Front Assist with City Emergency Braking), meaning all customers ordering a new Caddy, Transporter or Crafter van from 1 June will be guaranteed safety as standard.

According to Thatcham Research, the motor insurers’ automotive research centre and respected experts in safety, security and crash repair, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems are ‘probably the most significant development in vehicle safety since the seat belt’ and have the potential to save more than 100 lives and 120,000 casualties over the next ten years.

Not only does autonomous emergency braking have the potential to reduce the number and severity of accidents, it has also been proven to cut third party injury insurance claims by 45 per cent. For van drivers and fleet operators, this means lower costs as well as less downtime thanks to fewer crashes and therefore drivers and vans kept on the road – and working – for longer. In addition, vehicles fitted with autonomous braking systems have an average insurance premium reduction of ten per cent compared to those which don’t.

Commenting on the development, Head of Marketing, Sarah Cox, said: ‘Producing safe, reliable vans has been at the heart of our brand for over 60 years. But technology is advancing at a pace and we’re continually seeing more and better ways to keep drivers safe on the road.

‘We’re really proud to be the first to fit AEB as standard to all our vans. This means safer vehicles on our roads, leading to fewer accidents, lower costs for operators and potentially fewer lives lost: what could be more important?’

Peter Shaw, Chief Executive at Thatcham Research, said: ‘Volkswagen is a trailblazer and should be applauded for being the first manufacturer to fit AEB as standard on all its vans in the UK. The truth is that we are seeing a year on year rise in deaths and serious injuries involving vans which this technology can help to avoid.

‘It is shocking that AEB, a proven lifesaving technology, has not been widely available to van owners or drivers until now. We call upon all vehicle manufacturers to follow Volkswagen's lead, and fit AEB as standard across all their light commercial vehicles as soon as possible.’

For further information on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ award-winning range of products and aftersales services or to find your nearest Van Centre, please visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk.

How does it work?

Using a radar built into the front end of the van, Front Assist recognises critical distances to the vehicle in front and helps to ensure safe stopping. In any dangerous situations Front Assist reacts here in two stages: in the first the assistance system warns the driver with audible and visual signals of any vehicle in front driving slowly or suddenly braking and of the associated risk of collision. In parallel it gets the vehicle ready for emergency braking – by applying the brake pads and alerting the brake assistant. If the driver fails to react to the warning, a one-off short jolt of the brake indicates in the second stage the looming danger of a collision and the brake assistant’s responsiveness is further increased. If the driver then hits the brakes, full braking power is immediately available. If the driver does not brake strongly enough, Front Assist increases the braking pressure to the required level, so that the vehicle comes to a stop before reaching the obstacle.

The system also includes the City Emergency Braking function, which provides assistance at low speeds of under 18 mph. If the driver fails to see or react to an obstacle, the system automatically applies the brakes and ensures that the speed of any collision is reduced. Ideally, it completely prevents the vehicle from running into the obstacle.

Three quarters of collisions occur in so-called city environments (at under 25 mph) and a 2015 study by Euro NCAP and Australasian NCAP showed autonomous braking leads to a 38 per cent reduction in real-world rear-end crashes.

Source: Volkswagen

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Topics: vw, vw caddy, technology

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