These innovations include the new City Brake Control system which has won the prestigious Euro NCAP Advanced 2013 award.
In the UK, City Brake Control is standard on the Fiat 500L Trekking and available as an option on Fiat Panda and on the rest of the Fiat 500L range. The innovative active safety system detects the presence of vehicles or obstacles in front of the car and automatically applies the brakes if the driver fails to do so in order to avoid the collision or to reduce its consequences.
The City Brake Control system is designed to provide assistance in city traffic and is always on when the car is moving at a speed from 3 to 19mph. Activated whenever the engine is started, the system can be deactivated and reactivated to suit the driver.
The City Brake Control system uses a LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) type laser sensor located on the upper part of the windscreen to interface with the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system. Depending on certain parameters (such as road surface conditions, vehicle dynamics and trajectories, position of obstacles and condition of the tyres etc), by cutting in, the system can completely avoid or mitigate the consequences of a collision (Collision Avoidance or Collision Mitigation).
The sophisticated device integrates three functions: Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Prefill and Brake Assist. While respecting the wishes of the driver who remains in full control of the car, the AEB activates emergency braking when a collision appears inevitable and the driver fails to react, thereby actually anticipating his/her reaction. The Prefill function instead prefills the braking system to provide a quicker response either when the Automatic Emergency Braking system cuts in or the driver brakes. Brake Assist, on the other hand, recognises emergency situations and – if the collision becomes more imminent – the system makes the hydraulic brake assist function more sensitive, thus the braking pressure is boosted to provide a shorter braking distance.