Defective Radar in Nissan’s Automatic Emergency Braking

Nissan’s automatic emergency braking system has a defective radar that is either disabling AEB and cruise control or, in the worst case scenario, creating false-positive readings that cause the vehicles to stop randomly in the middle of the road.

What is Automatic Emergency Braking?

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning (FCW) systems are there to help prevent rear-end collisions by using cameras, sensors, and/or radar to alert the driver of an obstacle in the road.

FCW will audibly and sometimes visually alert the driver to apply the brakes, while AEB can automatically slam on the brakes if it doesn’t think the driver will do so in time. FCW is believed to reduce rear-end crashes by a third, while AEB nearly cuts them in half1.

So it’s no surprise that AEB is becoming popular across multiple brands, including Nissan which started offering it as standard equipment as part of its “Intelligent Safety Shield” on some of its most popular models in the 2018 model year 2.

Nissan’s AEB Sensors Might Be Easily Fooled

Nissan’s AEB relies on a radar in the front grill. But it is believed that some of the radar modules, which were supplied by Bosch, are defective. In the worst case scenario, the modules are creating false-positives and stopping cars at random times.

”It was a clear day, light traffic, dry pavement, no leaves or other road debris. As I pulled away from the stop sign, within 20 feet, the car suddenly started shaking and stopping. It made an incredibly loud noise. I immediately pulled over the shoulder. There were no messages on the dash or behind the steering wheel” – 2018 Rogue owner in MD

Needless to say this creates more rear-end collision opportunities than it saves. The sensor also frequently deactivates itself which is usually accompanied by the warning message “front radar unavailable due to obstruction.”

”The front sensor keep showing the “front sensor unavailable” followed by the crash icon at all times of the day, and all speeds including in the stopped position. The sensor goes out regardless of whether or not there are other vehicles near the car.” – 2018 Sentra owner in TX

With the radar unavailable, both AEB and cruise control will be disabled.

Emergency Braking Lawsuit

An emergency braking lawsuit is worried that any AEB-equipped Nissan has defective sensors in the front grille.

The owner’s manuals for many of the vehicles admit the automatic emergency braking systems do “not function in all driving, traffic, weather and road conditions.” But the plaintiff says the manual leaves out the part about how the systems can cause vehicles to suddenly stop even when no objects are in the driving lane.

The lawsuit includes all former and current owners / lessees of the 2015+ Altima, Armada, Leaf, Maxima, Murano, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Sentra, and Pathfinder.

A Series of Nissan Technical Service Bulletins

The Nissan lawsuit alleges the automaker is well aware of radar sensor problems because a series of technical service bulletins (TSBs) that date back to late 2016.

Bulletin for radar sensor diagnostic codes

In September of 2016, Nissan issued TSB NTB15-009b to tell technicians to be on the lookout for two diagnostic codes related to radar sensors problems. Trouble Code DTC C1A16 would indicate the radar is blocked, while trouble code DTC C1A12 indicates the laser beam is off center.

The bulletin focused on the 2016 Altima, Maxima, Murano Hybrid, and Sentras as well as the 2015-2015 Murano and Rogues.

Then came the quality assurances

Nissan continued to release multiple bulletins from November 2016 to February 2017 related to quality assurance holds on the front camera (TSB NTB16-116 and PC499), or mentioning Automatic Emergency Braking or Forward Emergency Braking services (TSB NTB18-008 and TSB NTB18-008).

Unexpected operations in AEB, FEB, or FCW

In June of 2018, TSB NTB18-041 informed dealers that owners of the 2018 Rogue, Rogue Hybrid, or Rogue Sport might complain about unexpected problems with the AEB (automatic emergency braking), FEB (forward emergency braking), or FCW (forward collision warning). TSB NTB18-041a updated the previous bulletin to include the 2017 model year.

Reprogram the laser radar

In August of 2018, TSB PC637 informed dealers to update the the driver assist system software to “improve the performance” of any 2018 Rogue built in Tennessee.

Frickin’ lasers

Any Chance of a Recall?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fully supports AEB saying it “believes these technologies represent the next wave of potentially significant advances in vehicle safety.3

While I doubt NHTSA would issue an investigation or recall for warning messages, if enough owners complain about the system creating new and potentially even-more damaging situations by randomly stopping cars, you’d have to believe that’d qualify as a “safety” issue worthy of an investigation.

  1. From NHTSA and IIHS’s background information on AEB 

  2. Includes the Rogue, Altima, and Murano accordion to NissanNews.com 

  3. From their Driver Assistance Technologies article. 

Story Timeline

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What Owners Are Saying

“While driving on a staight roadway the vehicle started to shake and an alarm sounded and a red box with a yellow triangle appeared on the display and the car began to slow down as if to avoid a crash or something in the roadway. There was nothing in the roadway, no cars, no deer, no people. Luckily there was no one behind me either. I was shocked that his happened until I read that this is happening with a lot of Rogue's from 2018 model year.”

2018 Rogue owner in NJ

“The forward collision avoidance (fca) / automatic emergency braking system inadvertently activated resulting the brakes being abruptly applied while driving forward on a neighborhood thoroughfare at 40 mph and nothing in front of me.. there was a vehicle following me which had to swerve around me or else there would have been a rear collision. The system generated a false warning with a beeping and dashboard lights.”

2018 Rogue owner in FL

“My safety braking system engaged when there were no other cars around me. There was nothing on the roadway either. I was going 40 mph on a straight level road in a Suburban location. The alarm started to go off and the car suddenly braked. It felt and sounded like I was driving on speed reducing pavement.”

2018 Rogue owner in FL

OK, Now What?

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  1. File Your Complaint

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  3. Report a Safety Concern

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  4. Contact Nissan

    Nissan Support

    P.O. Box 191 Gardena CA 90248 USA

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