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Video: we test the truck that stops itself

We put Autonomous Emergency Braking to the test at 50mph in a 44-tonne HGV

From November, all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will have to be fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking – and in this video we try out one of the leading systems on a Volvo truck.

Just like in cars, the auto-braking system uses radar and camera technology to spot if there is a slower moving vehicle in front, and then warn the driver if a collision is imminent. If the driver does nothing, the system will automatically apply the brakes to minimise or even avoid an impact.

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The rules on Autonomous Emergency Braking in HGVs mean that at first the systems will need to be able to reduce a truck’s speed by 10kph, then from November 2017 this threshold will be increased to 30kph. However, this is still way behind the systems fitted to some trucks. For instance the system available for the Volvo FH Series we tried is capable of slowing a 44-tonne HGV by an incredible 70kph.

Thatcham, the automotive research centre, is calling for all truck manufacturers to stay ahead of the legislation and install systems of similar capability.

A spokesman also said: “Autonomous emergency braking should be fitted to all commercial vehicles, not just HGVs. Just think how many vans and small lorries are on our roads clocking up huge mileages which increases their likelihood of being involved in a collision.”

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