Forward Collision Warning

How does it work?

It is a collision warning system, in the event that the vehicle driven is too close to colliding with a parked or moving vehicle ahead. This is done   using a sensor that is mounted on the front of the vehicle (e.g., RADAR, LIDAR and/or camera).

These warning systems are useful in alerting the driver to dangerous situations ahead, helping them respond more quickly when the need arises. The type of warning used by the systems varies between vehicles. Some use a flashing light while others use an alarm or vibration sound.

Forward collision warning systems should not be confused with forward collision mitigation systems. Warning systems simply warn the driver when a collision is likely to occur, but do not automatically apply the brakes. It is also important to note that different vehicles have the ability to detect different types of crashes. Some vehicles will only sound the alarm if you are about to collide with another moving vehicle, for example.

Graphic: Forward collision warning icon


  • Forward collisions are among the most common types of crashes. Forward collision warning systems are therefore of great benefit, as research has shown that they can substantially reduce the risk and severity of these types of collisions.
  • Being a technology that alerts the driver about potentially dangerous situations, a conceptual benefit is that this technology has the ability to increase people’s confidence in continuing to drive safely, even when they are hampered by factors such as aging.


  • This technology is designed to warn drivers about possible hazards so that the driver can make the right decisions. Therefore, forward collision mitigation systems are not considered within this technology spectrum.
  • It is still a feature mainly present in luxury vehicles, but in combination with other active technologies, it has the potential to become standard equipment and increase its market penetration.
  • It is a feature that depends on the attention, dexterity, and good judgment of the driver for its complete effectiveness. At all times, active user surveillance is required.
  • The type of system used for forward car detection can influence its use, as camera-based systems are less effective at night than radar-based systems, and can be “blinded” by direct sunlight (e.g., early dawn and late sunset). Likewise, the effectiveness of systems based on cameras and radars can be compromised by the accumulation of snow or ice in front of the sensors.

Common names

  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Collision Avoidance Assist
  • Collision warning with brake support
  • Adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning of automatic tail assist steering
  • Forward collision warning
  • Forward collision warning with brake mount
  • Forward collision warning with mitigation
  • OEM 4 Active Safe
  • Proximity warning function

Latest Publications on PubMed

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