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Fiat Chrysler America Expands Role of Emergency Safety Systems

Like other auto manufacturers, Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) is expanding the role of driver assist safety features in their vehicle lines: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo. In 2015, FCA and 20 other auto companies voluntarily committed to including automatic emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning (FCW) as standard in virtually all new light-duty cars and trucks by 2022.

The agreement was made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) who provide annual updates on manufacturer progress. Recent research by IIHA, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and Consumer Reports indicate that cars, SUVs, and trucks equipped with AEB and FCW are involved in nearly 50 percent fewer front-to-rear crashes than vehicles without these systems.

While FCA integrated some new emergency safety and security systems as standard in most of their 2021 vehicles, the company added safety systems as standard in luxury vehicles or offered options with more expensive trims in other models. Here's a rundown of the driver assist technologies being added to the FCA vehicle fleet.

Forward Collision and Automatic Emergency Braking Systems

Forward Collision Warning

Fiat Chrysler America offers FCW and AEB with active breaking to avoid collisions in several different brand names of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo vehicles.

Depending on the vehicle, FCA has branded their FCW systems as Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus or Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking. The systems use radar sensors to detect if the FCA vehicle is approaching another vehicle too fast and alerts the driver with a chime and visual warning in the instrument panel. It then preloads the brakes for a better stopping response. These systems also brake to a complete stop to prevent a crash if the driver doesn't respond. The Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus system in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Compass, Ram 1500, and Chrysler Pacifica are capable of avoiding crashes at speeds up to 40 mph, depending on road conditions.

Another AEB system by FCA is the Advance Brake-Assist. This system works with the Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus by increasing the deceleration when the driver does not apply sufficient force to the brake pedal in response to a collision condition. Such situations can happen when the driver panics and presses both pedals. Drivers also can override the brakes in emergencies with forceful use of the throttle.

As a standard form of AEB braking on many Dodge models, Ready Alert Braking anticipates when the driver might initiate an emergency stop. Ready Alert Braking then uses the ESC control pump to set the brake pads against the rotors, which decreases the time necessary for full application of the brakes by the driver.

To optimize brake control and reduce stopping distances, FCA has introduced the Electronic Brake-Force Distribution as standard in 2021 Dodge Durango and Journey models. Brake Force Distribution electronically regulates the breaking pressure in the front and rear of the vehicle to keep the vehicle from swerving.

Finally, Brake-Throttle Override, a standard feature on all FCA US vehicles, allows the driver to stop faster when the brake and throttle inputs happen simultaneously by causing the electronic throttle control to reduce the power output of the engine.

Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers with Rain Brake Support

The 2021 Jeep Cherokee comes standard with Rain Sensing Windshield Wipers. The technology is also available as an extra option on other Jeep models and FCA US makes. Moisture sensors activate the wipers automatically when condensation hits the windshield, and the wiper control increases or decreases wiper speed according to the intensity of the rain. Teamed with the Rain Sensing Wipers, the Rain Brake Support system occasionally pushes the brake pads against the rotors to keep them dry when moisture activates the wipers.

Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection

Blind Spot monitoring alerts drivers of approaching vehicles passing into the blind areas on both sides of your vehicle by lighting an amber icon in the corresponding right or left outside mirror. The radar sensors also activated an audible chime to alert the driver.

The Rear Cross Path Detection system warns drivers when vehicles are approaching the path of your vehicle when backing up. The same two rear-bumper-mounted radar sensors detect oncoming traffic and illuminate the matching side mirror icon while sounding a chime. Rear Cross Path automatically activates when the vehicle is put in reverse. Even with this system, drivers still need to look where they are backing.

Rear and Front Parking Assist Systems

Fiat Chrysler America offers four different parking assist systems, beginning with the standard ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera. Improvement of the backup camera displays through the years have led to a rearview video with dynamic gridlines that show where the vehicle is going based on the direction of the turn. The camera engages to show hidden objects when the driver shifts into reverse.

The available ParkSense Rear Park Assist with Stop alerts the driver with increasing frequency of chimes as the vehicle gets closer to objects. The system uses four rear-fascia sensors to recognize obstacles and even applies the brakes to stop before hitting an object if the driver doesn't.

Another available parking system is the Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist with Full Stop. As you look for a parking space, this system recognizes open parking spaces. It then directs the driver when to shift gears, operate the brake and accelerator while it steers the vehicle into either kind of space. If the vehicle is about hit an obstacle, the system automatically applies the brakes.

ParkSense Front Park Assist provides a comprehensive view of your vehicle's surroundings using the 360° Surround View Camera. As the vehicle is driven into tight spots, ultra-sonic sensors alert the driver of any obstructions or pedestrians in close proximity to the front or sides of the vehicle.

Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking System

Fiat Chrysler America's new Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking is standard on the Chrysler Pacifica (gas and hybrid) and optional in 2021 on the Voyager minivan and the Ram 1500. The system leverages the Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus radar technology to identify possible frontal impacts and activate the vehicle's brakes. Fiat Chrysler America widened the range of the frontal view of radar sensors to identify walking pedestrians quicker to prevent hitting them.

LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist

With the LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist turned on, the driver will be alerted of unintentional lane drifting with an audible warning and a visual lane marker icon in the instrument cluster. Front sensors track the road lane lines to alert and correct the course of the vehicle in the lanes if the driver does not react properly to the warnings. Engaging the turn signal to intentionally change lanes—always a good practice—will eliminate the audible and visual warnings when crossing lane lines to pass or exit.

Electronic Stability Control Works with ABS

In 2012, NHTSA mandated all new vehicles manufactured for sale in America be equipped with electronic stability control. Fiat Chrysler America's Electronic Stability Control (ESC) activates when the steering wheel angle is not consistent with the direction the vehicle is traveling. The ESC enhances stability, controls the vehicle by automatically reducing the throttle input, and applies the brakes to counteract oversteering or understeering. The ESC works together with the anti-lock braking system (ABS) to maintain driver control, so it is important to keep both systems well maintained.

Automatic Headlamps

Based on ambient light conditions, Automatic Headlights will automatically switch to high-beam when it gets dark and low-beam when it detects oncoming cars and approaching taillights. The lights also remain on temporarily after exiting the vehicle.

Innovative Trailering Assist Features

Some new trailering assist technologies are now available on new 2021 Ram 1500 pickups. The new Trailer-Sway Mitigation system anticipates trailer-induced yaw conditions using input from the ESC sensors. If a sway condition is detected, the Trailer-Sway Mitigation system applies brakes individually and adjusts the throttle to maintain control.

The Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM) system also uses input from the ESC to anticipate potential rollover conditions. When the ERM senses a problem, it similarly applies the brakes individually and modulates the throttle position to help reduce the potential of a vehicle rollover.

Hill Start Assist for Incline Stops

To help drivers negotiate starts from stops on steep grades, FCA developed Hill-Start Assist, a standard safety feature on 2021 Jeeps, Ram 2500s and 3500s, and optional in 2021 Ram 1500s. Hill-Start Assist retains brake pressure for a short time, which allows for the driver to move his or her foot from the brake pedal to the throttle. The system releases brake pressure after a few seconds in proportion to the amount of applied throttle. It is normal to feel a slight brake pedal movement and to hear the brakes release.

A new available Reverse Guidance with Split-Screen View on Ram Heavy Duty pickups provides the driver with views of both sides of the towed equipment, permitting back up without guidance of another person. The 360° view Reverse Guidance camera displays both sides of a trailer. An auxiliary exterior camera with custom positioning improves visibility behind a trailer. For pulling, cameras in both mirrors provide the image to the 12-inch screen and spotter lights in the mirrors provide visibility of the trailer at night.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go

Fiat Chrysler America's Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses exterior front sensors to help control the acceleration (throttle) and deceleration (brakes) of the vehicle to maintain a preset distance between it and the vehicle ahead. Based on the information gathered from radar sensors and forward-facing camera, the adaptive cruise control adjusts vehicle speed according to traffic flow without driver input. Since the system has two modes, the driver needs to confirm which mode—Adaptive Cruise or Normal (fixed speed) Cruise—is controlling the vehicle to know what action to take when approaching a vehicle.

The cruise buttons are located on the steering wheel; the mode is displayed in the center of the instrument cluster with either "Adaptive Cruise Control Off" or "Adaptive Cruise Control Ready." If the "Ready" mode is on, the driver can SET+ or SET- to a chosen speed. When activity occurs the ACC will display any of following messages:

  • System Cancel
  • Driver Override
  • System Off
  • ACC Proximity Warning
  • ACC Unavailable Warning

If the traffic ahead comes to a complete stop, FCA's Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go will stop your vehicle. If traffic starts moving within two seconds, your auto will start moving without any driver assistance and accelerate to the speed of the traffic or to the set speed of the ACC.

Driver Responsibilities

While all of these driver assist technologies provide greater safety, drivers must remember that these warning systems are not substitutes for the driver's focused attention on the road and preparedness for unexpected emergencies.

These safety technologies also mean the vehicle owner bears a bigger responsibility for keeping the mechanical and electronic mechanisms of the vehicle functioning properly. That's why, for peace of mind, you should consider purchasing a Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan to minimize costly repairs and for the safety of those who travel in your FCA US vehicle. Try using our Quick Quote Calculator for obtaining a Mopar Vehicle Protection Plan suited to your driving needs.


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