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Transportation Software Hardware Technology

Study Finds Automatic Braking With Rearview Cameras, Sensors Can Cut Backup Crashes By 78 Percent (cbsnews.com) 161

A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that combining automatic braking with rearview cameras and sensors can cut reverse crashes by 78 percent. Rear automatic braking alone, which is an option in just 5 percent of new vehicles, is linked to a 62 percent drop in reported backup accidents in cars with that equipment. CBS News reports: Starting in May, all new cars in the U.S. will be required to have a rearview camera. Some automakers are going further by adding backup warning sensors and reverse automatic braking. For the first time, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested that combination of technology. Two models -- the 2017 Subaru Outback and Cadillac XT5 SUV -- earned superior ratings. Four other vehicles scored an advanced rating for generally avoiding a collision or substantially reducing the vehicle's speed. But there's some room to improve. One vehicle did not stop automatically when backing up to a dummy car parked at an angle. Automatic braking in the front will become standard in most cars in 2022 but there's currently no plan to make it standard for backing up.
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Study Finds Automatic Braking With Rearview Cameras, Sensors Can Cut Backup Crashes By 78 Percent

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  • by davecb ( 6526 ) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:15PM (#56172885) Homepage Journal

    I thought it was a big white wall, quite a bit farther away...

    Fortunately I was moving quite slowly, and the trucking company was more amused than annoyed.

    • The Tesla thought it was a big white cloudy sky, quite a bit farther away...

      Unfortunately, it was moving quite fast, and the truck driver was mildly surprised at hearing a Harry Potter soundtrack before seeing a Tesla convertible driven by a headless man rush off...

  • Water from condensation, especially when frozen over, make it worth-less than turning my head around. Vehicle manufacturers, please replace the rear camera and add radar with screen.
    • Why not just heat the small lense?

      Bigger concern is, is this kind of braking possible with a real (i.e. manual) transmission?

      • Manual transmissions account for 97% of new car sales in the US. It really isn't a consideration. Manuals are going away. Plan on it.

        • by jrumney ( 197329 )
          Manual transmissions used to have advantages over automatic for fuel economy and performance. Those days are over. At this point, manual transmissions are for hipsters, and cars with manual transmissions should really only come with one of these [hemmings.com] as its entertainment system.
          • by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Friday February 23, 2018 @02:00AM (#56174333)

            I prefer manuals, it offers the driver more control.

            I drove a newer van with an automatic transmission with fly-by-wire throttle and it was a terrible experience. You barely touch the gas pedal and the ECU goes "OK, half throttle start!" They don't do this with a manual transmission.

            A secondary effect (at least around where I live) is a manual transmission is actually a pretty good antitheft. If there are two identical cars parked beside each other, one with a manual and one with an automatic, the automatic gets stolen every time.

            • by jrumney ( 197329 )
              About the only useful "control" missing from my automatic transmission compared with a manual is that the automatic will not let you start off in 2nd. But traction control takes care of situations where that was necessary. If you only use P-R-D, you might also miss engine braking, but the 7 manual steps give me much more control over engine braking than I ever had in a manual car. If you including breaking the camshaft or blowing a cylinder by using the wrong gear, then I guess that control is also missin
              • Lots of automatic transmissions have a manual mode which lets you start in first or second gear. My car from 2003 had this capability. It would downshift automatically, so engine braking was limited, but that was not the reason for having it.

                • Every automatic transmission I've seen limit the gear changes past the selection. So if you put it in 2nd, it doesn't start in second, it won't shift past second. It always starts in first gear. I tried this out on the van I drive occasionally for work.

              • by Agripa ( 139780 )

                About the only useful "control" missing from my automatic transmission compared with a manual is that the automatic will not let you start off in 2nd.

                You also cannot push start with a dead battery or starter if you have an automatic transmission. Or push start anything made by GMC whether it has a manual transmission or not but that is a different issue.

              • The same van also would hunt for gears when going up inclines. On my vehicle (which is manual) it stays until I change it.

                Engine braking is terrible on automatics. You have a fluid coupling between the engine and transmission that allows a lot of slip vs putting it in a lower gear and engaging it fully. Have you even driven a car with a manual transmission? This comment makes me think you haven't.

                • by jrumney ( 197329 )
                  I drove a manual for 10+ years and used to think like you, but back then that thinking was mostly true. Have you driven a modern automatic? A lot of improvements came in through the 1990's and early 2000's, mostly driven by the drive to lower fuel consumption. This has led to automatic transmissions without "a lot of slip", and with more gears (6 or 7 is now common, as are CVTs), so there is an in-between gear that is just right for that incline.
                  • Yes, the van in question is a 2017 Dodge with a modern six-speed auto. (Or is it a seven speed?)

                    It still hunts around for gears. I agree, it was much worse than the three and four-speed autos.

          • Well, they certainly have advantages on twisty roads and mountain roads. I guess I'm a hipster because I like being engaged in driving with all four limbs, then. It really is rewarding compared to piloting an automatic around, and there is little to no chance of being distracted by fiddling with phones. And as others note, the simplicity of some manual transmission cars makes them easy to mod.
          • by Agripa ( 139780 )

            Manual transmissions used to have advantages over automatic for fuel economy and performance. Those days are over. At this point, manual transmissions are for hipsters, and cars with manual transmissions should really only come with one of these [hemmings.com] as its entertainment system.

            Now they just have the advantage of better reliability and lower total cost of ownership. Who needs these things?

        • Traditional automatics are going away too - as the latest weird car adverts here say that the new Leaf has a single pedal. Press harder to go faster, press less hard to slow, stop pressing to brake. Soon driving will be with 1 big joystick.

    • And don't forget the frickin laser beams.

      • And don't forget the frickin laser beams.

        Which brings up an interesting point.

        Note: think like someone trying to break the system ..... Suppose Person "A" stands near a car that's backing up. They, or one of their accomplices, uses a high-power laser pointer to disable the rear-facing cameras. Person "A" then "unintentionally" walks into the path of the reversing vehicle, making sure they avoid actually getting killed, but a big bruise would be good. Will the system disengage when it loses it's rearward vision? Will it do so fast enough? W

        • by nasch ( 598556 )

          If this hasn't been happening up until now, there is no reason to think it will start happening once it becomes more difficult to pull off.

    • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:46PM (#56173025)

      I have a new car with a backup camera. It's great for parking in tight spaces and not much else. The resolution and quality is too low for it to be of much use unless I'm staring at it intently. I'm not sure if this is due to the screen or the camera. It's also not very useful at night or when it gets moisture or dirt on it.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Nissan invented 360 birds-eye-view cameras years ago, and now quite a few cars have them. They work well, and at least with the Nissan ones have good night vision capability.

        I find them very useful for parking. Not just for avoiding collisions, but for getting nicely aligned in the space. One of the biggest problems with parking is that spaces are too small to start with, and as soon as one person parks off-centre it screws everyone else up.

      • I had the opportunity to compare backup cameras in a 2014 Subaru Outback vs. a 2014 Honda Odyssey. The Honda's was overwhelmingly superior: larger display monitor, far higher resolution, MUCH better night vision, and the ability to switch between three separate camera views, including an "over-the-curb" camera that let me accurately measure the number of inches between the rear bumper and obstacles near it.

        If I had only ever saw Honda's backup camera, I would have assumed that all backup cameras were aweso

    • by bankman ( 136859 )

      Alternatively, design cars with windows large enough to see anything.

    • Even worse when covered in road salt

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:24PM (#56172931)

    If we're headed for self-driving cars this seemingly trivial problem should be closer to 100% not 78%.

    • If we're headed for self-driving cars this seemingly trivial problem should be closer to 100% not 78%.

      Nothing trivial about this kind of image recognition. There have been plenty of documented cases where a sophisticated algorithm can be made worthless by a simple sticker. Some day we should get closer to 99% but a computer system may never reach 100% when dealing with corner cases.

      • Nothing trivial about this kind of image recognition.

        It's not image recognition. TFA (and indeed TFS) describes it as "backup warning sensors" -- presumably ultrasonic range sensors. 78% actually seems pretty pathetic for that kind of basic, well-understood technology.

        • by SirSlud ( 67381 )

          You don't want it to prevent you from backing up on false positives. As with all things, it's super easy to assume things until you're privy to what the devil in the details are. The more specialized the problems become, the bigger specialists we become, the more we all seem to assume we're experts outside of our silos.

          • You don't want it to prevent you from backing up on false positives.

            Maybe it's just me, but it seems like everyone involved (the driver, the insurance company, the kid you're about to hit) would prefer a system like this to bias toward false positives rather than false negatives.

            Here's one way straightforward way you could achieve that: Automated system thinks it sees something and stops. I the human driver look at the backup camera and see there isn't really anything (or now isn't -- maybe something ran/blew by), clear the alarm, and slowly but deliberately press on the

        • Nothing trivial about this kind of image recognition.

          It's not image recognition. TFA (and indeed TFS) describes it as "backup warning sensors" -- presumably ultrasonic range sensors. 78% actually seems pretty pathetic for that kind of basic, well-understood technology.

          I would imagine that there is some sort of override when the driver continues to press on the accelerator or increases. What's really going on is probably in 22% of the time despite warnings and automatic breaking, the driver's actions override the car and continue to back into objects.

          • I would imagine that there is some sort of override when the driver continues to press on the accelerator or increases. What's really going on is probably in 22% of the time despite warnings and automatic breaking, the driver's actions override the car and continue to back into objects.

            If human overrides were factored in to the 78%, I agree that would probably represent close to ideal performance for the automated system. But the underlying article [iihs.org] reads to me like the 78% was the result of a suite of fully automated tests.

            • I would imagine that there is some sort of override when the driver continues to press on the accelerator or increases. What's really going on is probably in 22% of the time despite warnings and automatic breaking, the driver's actions override the car and continue to back into objects.

              If human overrides were factored in to the 78%, I agree that would probably represent close to ideal performance for the automated system. But the underlying article [iihs.org] reads to me like the 78% was the result of a suite of fully automated tests.

              That is also probably near ideal performance as chaos theory states that all robotic life will eventually rise up and attempt to kill their masters.

      • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

        Aye, the problem is don't do it with image recognition but instead measure distance to objects - LIDAR. It works better.

    • If we're headed for self-driving cars this seemingly trivial problem should be closer to 100% not 78%.

      Sounds like the problem is the corners. Need additional cameras for checking to the sides for scenarios where you are turning and backing up and also when other objects are moving. And it does require much additional computation to predict movement of multiple objects relative to one another so bare bones automatic breaking is really about just automatically stopping when something is already in the warning area regardless of whether it is moving or not. To get to 100% you need to add side views and have

  • My Camry has a backup camera and cross-traffic sensors. It will not brake automatically (I think that was added the following year). The camera gives me a wider angle view than is possible looking from the drivers seat, and the cross-traffic sensors set off an alert about a passing car or pedestrian well before I would be able to see them myself, especially if I'm next to one or two large vehicles. If it beeps I stop, wait to see if anything goes past, and if not I back up extra cautiously just in case. I d

  • by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:37PM (#56172987)

    I'm so old I remember back in the 70s the taxicab companies in New York discovered that putting a brake light in the rear window of their cars cut rear-ending accidents by 60%. The light was at eye level (for a driver) rather than bumper level.

    You would have thought they had re-invented fire, the wheel, and all the rest of science and how marvelous everyone thought that was.

    Now a car that brakes automatically before it hits something. My my.

    Now, as then, my reaction is the only astounding thing is how absolutely anyone could be surprised at the result.

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:49PM (#56173043) Journal
    Stop driving behind people when they are backing up.
    • Oh I didn't realise that cars were the only thing that cars crash into. Makes sense though. People have never backed into poles, trees, people, the end of their garage or any other stationary object.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Stop driving behind people when they are backing up.

      Here's another novel idea... Learn how to drive.

      Or more specifically, the rules around driving. When you're reversing you are responsible to ensure that no-one else is in your path. It is not the responsibility of everyone else to make sure they are out of your way. If you hit someone whilst reversing it is in almost all cases, your fault.

      • by hawk ( 1151 )

        Pull your headlines on. In that moment, tailgaters don't have the time to distinguish the difference in brightness between taillights and brakelights . . .

        Porches buck quite nicely, and with motorcycles, you can actually see them reach for the brake . . . :)

        hawk

      • Nobody is worried about you reversing and denting a car. We mandated backup cameras because you can't see small children behind the vehicle. If you reverse over a child, they will usually die and it doesn't matter whose fault it is, you've still got a tragedy. So at the expense of not letting some people feel like superior human beings based on their supposed skills backing up a vehicle, we put in a camera and a sensor that reduces human carnage.
      • Yes, and I do that. But, that doesn't help when I'm backing out carefully and someone decides they shouldn't have to wait and drives behind me AFTER I HAVE ALREADY STARTED BACKING OUT. Driving behind someone who is backing out is a dick move, something you are probably familiar with. And, you know when it is an especially dick move? When the car can't see you because there is an SUV or van blocking the driver's view.
  • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:50PM (#56173055) Journal
    Now that cars can detect objects in close proximity to the rear and automatically brake for them, why not take the next step by adding a feature to brake-check tailgaters? Ensuring a safe following distance in back would make it safer to brake hard to avoid collisions in front.
    • an ever-so-gentle touch on the brake pedal to make the brake light come on without slowing usually deters tailgaters as they shit themselves. Its not much different than pressing the brake pedal when you really need to slow down quickly, but without the fool behind sandwiching you into whatever you tried to avoid hitting.

    • When somebody is too close in the rear, the correct action is just to let off of the gas. Slow down enough and their short distance will be the recommended safe distance for the speed you are traveling.
  • by kackle ( 910159 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @08:57PM (#56173107)
    Annnnd, what happens when I'm trying to back away from danger into some tall grass; is it going to let me, or is it going to overrule the human? I'm sick to death of engineers, etc., thinking they've thought of everything, to the detriment of the unsuspecting users, decades later.
    • Annnnd, what happens when I'm trying to back away from danger into some tall grass; is it going to let me, or is it going to overrule the human? I'm sick to death of engineers, etc., thinking they've thought of everything, to the detriment of the unsuspecting users, decades later.

      So you've already decided that this is going to happen? Having a backup camera already, tall grass doesn't look a thing like a car or a small child, so it won't be hard to electronically differentiate. Just sayin.

      And what about your constitutional right to run into things? Something something liberals. Anyhow make certain you start cutting the grass in your backyard again, if that's what you are worried about. Those damn teenagers are hiding in it.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      What's going to happen is that the car is going to come to a stop until/unless you press the "override" button. Once you've done that, you can do whatever you like, and take responsibility for whatever outcome occurs.

    • by slazzy ( 864185 )
      I saw a YouTube video on how one of these systems works. To disable you have to turn it off, put it back into drive and then back into reverse or something then it disables.
    • by sad_ ( 7868 )

      i see your point, and understand. the thing is that you have a choice
      1. you back out yourself and hit a wall/car/person
      2. your car doesn't allow you to back out and you get hit in the front

      none of these is good, both are an accident, but i think it will differ in who is to blame. in 1 you are to blame, in 2 the other party is to blame.

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      "Annnnd, what happens when I'm trying to back away from danger into some tall grass;"

      Sure, let's base all our policies on situations that 99.9% of our population will never encounter.
    • Annnnd, what happens when I'm trying to back away from danger into some tall grass; is it going to let me, or is it going to overrule the human? I'm sick to death of engineers, etc., thinking they've thought of everything, to the detriment of the unsuspecting users, decades later.

      This was you [xkcd.com], wasn't it?

    • I hate it when I'm backing away from danger into some tall grass and my car gets all dirty. Oh wait that's happened exactly never outside of movies. And surely there will be an override button for the foreseeable future. If for no other reason that you will need it while backing a trailer for quite some time until the trailers start having to have secondary cameras and a standardized connector.
  • Maybe I'm not seeing it right, but isn't "reverse automatic braking" what you do when the traffic light turns yellow as you approach?
  • by OnceWas ( 187243 ) on Thursday February 22, 2018 @11:28PM (#56173753)

    I rented a car with automatic braking, and the false positives are terrifying. I routinely triggered the autobraking when backing out of driveways onto the road, where there's a change in gradient. The ABS kicks in, and it sounds like your car has bottomed out and is grinding against the ground.

    It's particularly annoying because you can see on the reverse camera that there's nothing behind you, so you start doubting yourself, the camera, and the car. It's kind of like a random punishment system. You don't know what's going to cause the next zap, so there's no clear corrective path of action to take to correct this.

    • solution: same thing I use on my laptop camera, electrical tape
    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Both of our vehicles have warning sensors, but thankfully not the braking. The sensors will go off if I take curve in "spirited" driving...and yes, I do tend to test the limits a bit. Though they've come in handy a few times by warning of suddenly braking traffic ahead before I even saw it, and FWIW, I'm not one to take my eyes off the road for cell phones or other such nonsense. So, I like the warnings, but would never every buy a vehicle with the automatic braking...you're likely to get plowed into fro

      • you're likely to get plowed into from behind, and then you'll be at fault.

        What country do you live in where you're at fault when you're rear-ended?

          • Yes, your link shows that there are a few corner cases where a rear-ended driver might be considered partially at fault, but even then the other driver is partially at fault too. From your link: "The driver of the car that rear-ends a leading vehicle will almost always be considered at least partially negligent." The point is moot though, since in the specific case were were discussing (car autobrakes unexpectedly) the driver of the leading car would never be considered negligent. The rear-ending car mig

  • Automatic braking sensor just caused a crash in a professional cycling race a couple of days ago

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/new... [cyclingnews.com]

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Ha...I posted the same article before reading through comments. I would however argue that following a vehicle too closely isn't the fault of the vehicle.

      While the riders on either side of the slowing lead car simply rode past it, those directly behind it were forced to suddenly brake, and Cavendish was unable to avoid touching the rear wheel of Leonardo Basso (Team Sky) and fell heavily.

  • But then I remember 2 decades ago while in the US. We would go to lunch with colleagues and take as few cars as possible, in turns. One day we get into a new colleague's car and she steps on the gas in reverse to get out of her parking spot, without looking. We ask: "Hey, why didn't you look before backing up?!?", "And how would I do that?", "Well, you could turn your head or look into your mirrors", and the answer: "Pfff, they do that in the movies!!!".

    Well, then maybe this system isn't so bad after all

    • People like that should take the bus. Seriously, if they can't be responsible vehicle operators then they've made that decision themselves.
  • I will never own a vehicle with automatic brakes. Warning sensor?...sure, Brakes?...never. I have two vehicles in my garage, right now, with brake warning sensor. In any kind of spirited driving, they often give off false alarms. Are they going to put in sensors in the rear to make sure you don't get plowed into from the guy behind who was tailgating, because you're the one who's going to legally be at fault. And this just in...

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/new... [cyclingnews.com]

  • At the Abu Dhabi Tour, Pro cyclist Mark Cavendish was knocked out of the race by a car with automatic braking. There was congestion in front and back of the car, and that triggered the sudden braking. Cavendish hit the car, went down and was injured.
  • Study Finds Looking Where You Are Going Can Cut Backup Crashes By 84%
  • How many backup related accidents are there? How much will it cost to add? And how much more in repairs when the sensors or cameras go bad? And how much shorter will the service life of the vehicle be? These trade-offs, vs better driver education and enforcement are rarely discussed. The safety industry seems to have a good track record of foisting questionable and expensive systems on the auto industry. Air bags that are too powerful for smaller occupants or that go off too easily and then require thous
    • Back when just backup cameras, not the auto-braking, was made mandatory in the US, it was something like 300-400 backup-related deaths per year estimated saved at a cost of about $200 per vehicle, or about $3.4 B total cost to the US market per year, or something like $8-$11M per life saved.

      We are well past the economically sensible rate of return on investment for these features (per capita GDP is only about $2.5M per lifetime). But when western culture is "prevent harm at any cost" this is what happens.

      I

  • Great, more stuff to pay for and more stuff to break. As a bonus, DRM can be included to prevent third party repairs.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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