Phantom Braking Leads to Mazda 3 Recall
A system designed to detect obstacles on the road ahead and automatically apply the brakes is acting up in current-generation Mazda 3 vehicles. Seems it’s seeing things that aren’t there.
On Friday, Mazda announced a recall of 35,390 Mazda 3 sedans and hatchbacks in the U.S., spanning the 2019 and 2020 model years.
The company claims the defect contained within its Smart Braking System (SBS), known more generally as automatic emergency braking, can cause vehicles to come to a sudden stop. This obviously poses a risk to occupants, as the driver of a following vehicle might be caught off-guard (though perhaps not, if they’re driving a similarly equipped Mazda).
Incorrect programming of the SBS control software may cause the vehicle to falsely detect an obstacle in front of the vehicle while driving. In certain cases, the SBS control software may automatically apply the vehicle brakes to prevent or reduce damage from a collision, even though no collision is imminent. If the SBS automatic emergency braking system unexpectedly activates while driving, the risk of a rear-end crash from a following vehicle may increase. There is a warning alarm sound and warning message displayed in the multi-information and active driving displays when this defect occurs.
The automaker claims it doesn’t know of any injuries or accidents stemming from the phantom brake applications.
With its new-for-2019 Mazda 3, Mazda sought to take the compact sedan and hatch upmarket, part of the brand’s premium-minded makeover. Part of that effort included greater standard content, as well as the option of all-wheel drive. Sadly for Mazda, instant sales success did not follow.
The model performed badly in 2019, leading the company to offer even greater levels of content for 2020 — including automatic emergency braking, which became standard kit on all trims.
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