Automatic post-crash braking technology reduces risk of secondary accidents

July 12, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
About a quarter of all passenger car accidents involving personal injuries in Germany are attributable to multiple accidents. An initial rear-end collision or a collision with a crash barrier, for example, often leads to secondary accidents because drivers are no longer capable of bringing their vehicles to a stop under control. As part of its ContiGuard safety concept, automotive electronics supplier Continental has developed Post Crash Braking Technology which is designed either to prevent secondary accidents or to at least moderate their effects, thus reducing the potential risks to vehicle occupants and other road users.

The airbag sensorics play a vital role in Post Crash Braking Technology. Irrespective of the vehicle's own speed, the Safety Control Unit (SCU) recognizes from the crash sensor signals that a collision has occurred and transmits a signal to the electronic braking system via the onboard data network.

Based on Electronic Stability Control (ESC) technology, the safety system will then automatically brake the vehicle after the impact, even if the driver is no longer operating the brake pedal, thus reducing the risk of dangerous secondary collisions and minimizing injuries and damage. "In high-speed collisions in particular, drivers often lose control over their vehicles. This is where our Post Crash Braking Technology can help; it quickly reduces vehicle speed, removing as much kinetic energy as possible and bringing the vehicle more rapidly to a stop", said Daniel Förster, Head of System Design ContiGuard in the Systems & Technology department of Continental's Chassis & Safety Division. 

Image: Comparison of accident sequences without and with Post Crash Braking Technology. For full resolution click here

An important feature of the safety system is that it will return control of the vehicle to the driver if, at any time after the collision, the driver actively operates the accelerator pedal or carries out an emergency braking by himself. If there is no such intervention from the driver, the system will brake the vehicle to a complete stop.