Chris Schwarz
The University of Iowa
Driving Safety Research Institute

Final Report

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Final Report Summary

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Can Regenerative Braking Save Your Life? A Distributed Simulation Study

Quick reactions are required to avoid or mitigate crashes with lead vehicles that brake unpredictably. Unfortunately, the total response time includes not only reaction time, but the time required for the driver to make a response decision and to move their foot to the brake pedal and depress it. A new breed of electric vehicles are equipped with an interesting feature called regenerative braking. Its purpose is to reclaim energy that would otherwise be wasted and use it to charge the batteries. Regenerative braking levels can be set to aggressive levels in the Tesla Model S. In fact, simply lifting ones foot from the accelerator pedal is equivalent to braking.
Regenerative braking inspires the following research questions:
1. How much does regenerative braking improve safety margins in forward collision events?
2. How much regenerative braking is needed to realize a safety benefit?
3. Does regenerative braking increase the risk of rear-end collisions from a following vehicle?

Supporting links:
YouTube Video
UI Data
TRID Record