For those that have autobraking vehicles, the first time the system engages can come as quite a shock. Designed to reduce the likelihood of rear-end collisions, autobraking systems use sensors to determine whether the vehicle is closing on the vehicle in front of it too quickly and to apply the brakes if the driver has failed to do so.
The technology is slated to be a standard feature in most vehicles by 2022 and expectations are high, with some reports saying autobraking could cut the number of rear-end collisions in half. It is yet another layer of defense as we make smarter cars that actively monitor their surroundings for threats to driver and passenger safety and take action on their own to mitigate those threats.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received reports from several owners of Nissan Rogue SUVs claiming that the vehicle’s autobraking system engaged on its own and without reason. In fact, over 800 such reports have been filed thus far, including 14 crashes and five injuries.
One such owner says that her Rogue came to a complete stop for no reason on a four-lane highway. She claims to have been moving with traffic at highway speeds when the system engaged without warning. That situation would be frightful enough on its own, however, her vehicle had autobraked two other times as well. She says she no longer drives her Rogue as a result, as she’s too scared of what it might do.
Nissan has appeared to acknowledge the problem without actually issuing a recall. In fact, according to Nissan, the fact that their vehicles may randomly slam on the brakes and stop a moving vehicle for no reason is really just a software bug. They’d like you to know they’ve released an update.
“On some affected vehicles, vehicle owners may experience false-positive activation by the AEB system in unique road conditions, such as specific railroad crossings, bridges, and low hanging traffic lights. The update to the FEB/AEB system software is designed to improve system functionality. Customers are invited to bring their vehicle to an authorized Nissan dealership where the update will be applied at no cost.”
Just be really careful around bridges, railroad crossings, and traffic lights when you do.