As we move toward the day when vehicles drive themselves, Mitsubishi has unveiled new tourist buses that use autonomous vehicle technology in its braking system, The Japan Times reports.
The 2013 Aero Queen and Aero Ace buses will be equipped with automatic braking technology that will decelerate the bus if it senses a potential crash.
Active Mitigation Brake, as the system is referred to, uses a millimeter wave radar system to determine the distance between the bus and vehicles in front of it. As Mitsubishi explains, the bus doesn't brake right away if it senses a problem. First, an audible alarm goes off to alert the driver. If the driver has fallen asleep at the wheel, for example, and does not take the required action to prevent the accident, the system will slowly apply the brakes and continue to sound the alarm. If the driver still doesn't respond the system will apply the brakes more firmly. It might not totally prevent an accident from happening but can significantly reduce the speed at impact and lessen the chance of injury and vehicle damage.
The new braking system will go along with the already available Mitsubishi Driver’s Attention Monitoring System which learns the driver's driving habits in the first 15 minutes behind the wheel and alerts the driver if the driver stops paying attention to the road.
According to The Japan Times, Mitsubishi is complying with government regulations that require large buses to be equipped with the technology by late 2014 after a deadly tourist bus crash earlier this year.
The mass adoption of this automatic braking technology could save lives, money, and reduce crashes. A study by the European Commission said that the widespread adoption of the technology in Europe could reduce the number of accidents by 27 percent, save billions of dollars, and thousands of lives.
Mitsubishi Fuso buses to get automatic braking system [The Japan Times]