Unneeded Automatic Emergency Braking - Again

Discussion in 'Hyundai Kona Electric' started by Toolworker, May 3, 2021.

To remove this ad click here.

  1. For the second time, my Kona EV locked its brakes today in a situation that didn't warrant it. This time an accident was barely avoided. The first time it happened I took the car to Hyundai service, who said "The car is operating correctly."

    Today I was driving in the slow lane of a limited access freeway. The lane was congested and I was going maybe 40 mph. The cars ahead slowed and began to stop.

    I took my foot off the accelerator and moved to the brake. At this time I was three or four car lengths behind the car ahead, and could have stopped easily with firm but normal braking.

    As soon as my foot touched the brake pedal, the Kona locked its brakes and screeched to an abrupt stop. Objects on the passenger seat were thrown to the floor. A truck behind me had to swerve to the right to avoid crashing into me. The driver followed me honking for half a mile until my exit.

    This might have been FCA, although I didn't hear a warning tone (but might not have heard it over the screeching tires) or notice a warning message. Cruise control was off. FCA was enabled (it can't be permanently disabled, AFAIK) and set to the default (Normal). Does anyone know if FCA will set an error code when activated? Torque Pro reports no fault codes.

    This happened once before, in February 2020, under identical conditions. Following that incident, I took the car to Hyundai dealer service, who advised that "The car is operating correctly."

    I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA. If anything like this has happened to you, please do the same. It's easy.
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. Yup, that happened to me several times, during the first year. Scared the crap out of me. Once it happened when I was about to change lanes. Cars behind me must have thought I was nuts. But not lately, I don't know if some software update fixed that or I have adapted to avoid it. Are you right up to date with all the recalls and software updates?

    I have another car that has FCA, but it has never prematurely braked on me.
  4. hieronymous

    hieronymous Active Member

    The Kona safety systems can be crudely abrupt sometimes - I have found I need to allow for this. I have FCA set to Late, on the basis that I wish to avoid activating it. The car is in Eco, Level1 regen, plus Auto Regen, though I use the brake pedal often, and early instead. Auto Regen can be over-ridden by an inadvertent tap on the brake, so I am wary of trusting it.
    If I found myself in a situation of slowing and congested traffic beginning to stop as you describe, at 40 (65kph for me), my following distance would be at least 6-7 car lengths, so that early "feathering" of the brake pedal would always be possible. My Prius ownership has taught me to coast early in closing traffic, which alerts traffic behind sooner rather than later, even if they impatiently pass me, only to then slam on the brakes (go figure).

    This works for me...
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  5. hieronymous

    hieronymous Active Member

    Having just returned from a 2000 mile road trip, I have fresh memories of how often I was tailgated, some of it by truckies, so-called professional drivers, pure intimidation. I just slowly reduce speed....
    I suspect some car drivers have no idea how dangerously close they are however, maybe they have never heard of the "2-second rule" for maintaining following distances, universally taught by driving schools, as follows:

    As the vehicle in front is passing some roadside marker, start counting "zero and one and two etc" to see how many seconds it takes you to get to the marker. Two is good, three is better!
    Check your speed. 60mph is 88 feet/sec, so 40mph is 58 feet/sec. In 2 sec @40 you would cover 117 feet.
    Now if the average vehicle length is 17 feet, how many car lengths is a good following distance at 40mph? Divide 17 into 117, which is just under 7 car lengths.
    At higher speeds a bigger gap is necessary for the same level of safety. So at 70mph (103 feet/sec) in 2 seconds a car travels 206 feet, which is equivalent to 12 car lengths.

    The implication from the above is that if you are too close to the car in front, you may well find that your cars' safety systems may abruptly apply the brakes, as they are designed to prevent a collision, so could activate (panic stop), when you are about 1 second behind....
    Mike Althaus likes this.
  6. Did you report that to the NHTSA? You still can, and it's easy. If this is part of a pattern, they ought to hear about it.
    I'm up to date as of mid-December. AFAIK all the reprogrammings have to do with batteries.

    Now that I know this is a recurring problem in that particular situation, I hope I'll recognize it when it recurs. But there have been multiple opportunities for it to happen when it didn't. The main artery in this neighborhood is a freeway. It is not uncommon for traffic to be going at 50 or so in the right lane, and suddenly you get to a line of stopped cars backed up at an exit. I've had to brake quite sharply in situations where I wouldn't have blamed the car from kicking in, but the two times it did, it was totally unnecessary.

    Good idea. I'll do that. Unfortunately it can't be disabled permanently.

    Again, there was no need for a panic stop or even an abrupt stop in this situation.

    What seemed to trigger the automatic braking in each situation was shifting my foot onto the brake pedal. At the instant I depressed it the tiniest amount, the wheels locked. Perhaps when the algorithm sees that the driver thinks braking is needed, that increases its estimate of the need for action. Or maybe it decides that I'm braking but not enough, so it locks the wheels before giving me a chance to actually depress the pedal.
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. I'm in Canada, so our reporting would be to Transport Canada. But like I said, hasn't happened to me lately. As others have said, I think Hyundai is just not that refined or precise (yet) with their FCA technology. My other car is a Subaru, and uses dual front cameras. It is very precise and will brake when necessary, but it doesn't slam them on at the last second.

    I think I have just adapted, knowing what might happen. Or maybe something did change with all the updates/recalls. I don't know, but seems to be OK for me now.
  9. hobbit

    hobbit Active Member

    I'm more glad as time goes on that my model doesn't have FCA.

    And for the rearward problem, there's the Yuppie Button. I'm also in the habit of checking
    to the rear before/during any deceleration event, to make sure I know how it might affect those behind me
    and their likelihood of actually paying attention at a critical moment.

  10. But how will their technology become more refined and precise if those of us savvy enough to understand when a system does something dangerous, and be able to describe the situation, just adapt and don't report the problem?

    And my experience with Hyundai has been that whatever problem I report, I get back a service order on which the tech has written "The car is operating correctly." That's what happened the first time I encountered this problem.

    So it is necessary to report to the regulators. That might happen when someone gets injured or killed, but they might not be able to provide as detailed and actionable a description as we can. Especially if they're dead.
    Cute! Personally, I'll just slow a bit and then resume speed, and if that doesn't work, then the emergency flasher usually does. Not nearly as much fun as your button.
  11. I am not saying don't report it. But this one is kind of hard to explain and show evidence. They'll just say stop driving so aggressively.

    This is different than for example the Tesla phantom braking problems. My son experienced that with his M3 sometimes going through an underpass. They fixed that with software. And then also Tesla also had a problem for a while when their cars were running into the back of semis when in cruise control. At least our Konas never had to deal with that.
  12. To remove this ad click here.

  13. They might say that to me. But if there is a pattern of reports to NHTSA and Transport Canada, they are likely to look into it. That's why it helps for everyone who has the problem to report it.

    I also assume they will report to Hyundai - if not specific reports then statistics. And I will send a copy of my report to Hyundai, which will put them on notice that there is a problem and should get more attention than if I just complain to them.

    And my report is pretty precise. Traffic ahead slowing toward a stop, moderate speed, touching the brake pedal appeared to be the trigger in both cases, no warning tone or message noticed and no error code.
  14. Genevamech

    Genevamech Active Member

    Here's a radical idea; Ditch the tech and actually drive the car! Warnings and alarms are one thing, but IMHO it's horrible that modern cars will actively wrestle control from the drivers. It all feels like technology for the sake of technology, rather than in service of driver comfort and safety... (which is why I never really considered a Tesla when looking for an EV as they're the worst offender in that respect)
  15. Well, I wouldn't go that far. I believe FCA saves a lot of accidents and probably lives, too. I know the insurance companies believe that because they offer discounts if you have FCA (mine does). But the technology is not perfect, and lots of examples of that. However, personally, I would not buy a car without the driver assist features of the Kona and others.

    And with the Kona, the imprecision/premature of the FCA leans on the side of safety (better too soon than too late), so hard to say I don't want it. And like I said I have not experienced it for a long time, probably because I have adapted my driving. That may also not be a bad thing.
    navguy12 likes this.
  16. In my cases, I know it happened even before I touched the brake pedal. Like the time I sped up a bit to make a lane change. That one was the worst. It was the sudden slamming on of the brakes that was really bad.
  17. I completely agree, and feel a lot safer with the many other warning and assist features. But not FCA.
    So you've set your FCA to Early, right?

    It's not leaning on the side of safety if it goes off when it's not needed. That's not imprecise, it's defective - and dangerous. For me, at least twice it almost caused an accident, and it has never kicked in when it might have prevented one. Does that sound like a safety feature?

    And it's the one feature that can't conveniently be disabled. Either I turn it off every time I start the car, or it continues to lurk and maybe pounce again.

    I might be able to adapt. I wouldn't feel safe having my wife drive this car.
  18. NRH

    NRH Active Member

    The FCA triggers when the driver does something that the car detects as unsafe. (That's uncontroversial.) I know this next part is going to get me skewered, but it's a truth that's hard to avoid on this topic -

    We can debate exactly where the FCA limits should be programmed, but the practical fact is that if you keep a longer following distance, or leave more space when accelerating before a lane-change maneuver, the FCA won't trigger, and you'll also be a safer driver.

    I've had the FCA beep a few times, and brake on me once or twice. Every time I was closer to a vehicle than I should have been. To avoid the annoying beeping and hard braking, I remind myself to be a safer, more conservative driver. That's what the system is there for.

    And yeah, I'd be nuts to buy a car without these safety features now that they're so widely available.
  19. @R P , when it kicked in for you, did you see the FCA message or hear a warning tone? What does the tone sound like - is it distinctive or similar to other warning beeps?

    Maybe it isn't FCA that is locking my wheels?

    I have been closer to a slowing vehicle on many occasions than I was the two times the brakes locked. I have occasionally had to apply much sharper braking than those situations required. I occasionally saw a warning message on my old Volt, but on the Kona I have never seen an FCA warning message or heard a warning tone. And that's as it should be. FCA should only kick in if there is a genuine emergency. If it does, the driver should say "Boy, I'm glad the car was smart enough to do that."

    That's what I say when the blind spot alert or the rear traffic warning sees something that I didn't. It's not what I say when I go to apply the brakes in a totally under control situation and all of a sudden they lock and almost cause an accident.
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    navguy12 likes this.
  20. I tried various settings. Just checked and FCA is set to Late right now. And Driver Attention is set to Normal Sensitivity. In any case, it seems to be OK right now. So am going to leave it as is.
    navguy12, electriceddy and Toolworker like this.
  21. It's been a while, but I think it beeped and a message, but can't remember exactly. What I do remember very clearly is that it braked abruptly and hard.
    Toolworker likes this.
  22. Did the braking kick in on a curve or turn into traffic? I've had that happen and best I can guess is that with the sensors, if something is sensed suddenly and close, it will react. However, in my case, the collision alarm goes off.
  23. No, this sometimes happened when coming to a stop behind another car, and it thinks I was waiting too long to brake. IE coming up too fast behind another car. But also it happened one time when I sped up behind a car to make a lane change. It unexpectedly jammed on the brakes, scaring the heck out of me, and probably the car behind me, too.

    I also get the beeping sometimes, but not the braking, as it should be when it is not in danger of a collision. And I do sometimes get the beeping when turning at a corner in traffic (ie 2 lanes turning). But I think that is the lane change warning, not the FCA.

Share This Page