Sometimes, it seems as if some new vehicle technology is released before it’s actually ready, and sometimes that can put drivers and others on the road in a less-safe position. Case in point: Honda has issued a voluntary recall of two of its Acura vehicles because of a problem with their highly sophisticated automatic emergency braking systems, which can malfunction, thus putting the vehicles at greater risk of accident.
The models subject to the recall are 2014 and 2015 models of their MDX SUVs and RLX sedans; a total of about 48,000 vehicles worldwide. The vehicles are equipped with what Acura calls its “Collision Mitigation Braking System,” which uses radar to scan road conditions ahead of the vehicles. If the radar system detects an object in front of the vehicle that it is in danger of hitting, the system automatically applies the brakes to slow the vehicle, thus theoretically either avoiding a collision altogether or at least reducing potential damage and injuries.
Unfortunately, according to Honda, in the recalled vehicles the system seems to become confused whenever a vehicle in front of the car accelerates and the vehicle is traveling along a metal guardrail or an iron fence. The company started noticing the problem in Japan in November 2013 when an Acura SUV suddenly braked for no reason and resulted in a rear-end collision.
As Honda was investigating the problem, a second incident occurred in June 2014, and eventually Honda’s engineers reportedly were able to duplicate the problem later on, and notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) back in May of this year. To date, Honda claims there have been no warranty claims, accidents or injuries reported.
Later versions of the system actually work, so those versions of the braking system are not part of the recall. For the recalled vehicles, Acura dealers will update the system software to fix the problem at no cost to owners.
This isn’t the only problem the NHTSA is looking into involving autonomous braking systems. Last week, the NHTSA announced that it was investigating complaints that the systems on some 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees also can brake for no apparent reason.
Though the autonomous braking systems are still relatively new, and are generally mostly found on higher-end vehicles, safety activists are increasingly pushing to make the feature standard. Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board suggested that automatic warning and braking systems be made standard on every new car and commercial truck.
If you own a vehicle that has been included in this or any vehicle recall, be sure to follow , please follow the recall instructions exactly. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident involving a potentially defective vehicle, please contact the experienced and knowledgeable Texas Automobile Defect Attorneys at Ramsey Hill LLP as soon as possible to protect your rights under the law.