PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Mike Hanson says he zoned out while driving, causing him to almost hit a concrete barricade head on.

“We would have been at the very least seriously injured, probably killed,” Hanson said.

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But he and his wife avoided injury because his SUV slammed on the brakes, on its own.

His car has something called automated emergency braking. Using sensors, cars with this feature can detect a collision, warn the driver and bring the vehicle to a stop without the driver ever touching the brakes.

Automated emergency braking, or AEB, is now standard on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

With the help of Michelle Mitchell from Mercedes-Benz of Pittsburgh, KDKA’s Susan Koeppen took out a car to see first-hand how it would brake for itself.

“So I have the system going right now and it’s just following the car in front of us,” Mitchell explained.

Mitchell turned on cruise control and took her feet totally off the pedals.

Koeppen: So right now it’s sensing how fast we are going and how fast the car in front of us is going.

Mitchell: Right, right.

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When the car in front started to slow down, so did the Mercedes. And as they came around a bend to a red light, the vehicle came to a complete stop.

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Koeppen: Wow.

Mitchell: I haven’t touched the brake yet.

Koeppen: We are almost at a complete stop. Wow.

Mitchell: Nothing

Koeppen: Your foot is not even on the brake and the car is stopped for us.

When a car in front slowed down to make a turn, the Mercedes followed suit.

Twenty automakers have now committed to making AEB standard in vehicles by 2022.

Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows AEB systems will reduce rear end crashes by 40 percent. With distracted driving at an all time high this technology will be a game changer for drivers.

Koeppen: they’re calling this the greatest safety invention in 20 years in cars.

Mitchell: when you drive this and it can warn you when you are going to get into an accident, it’s amazing.

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Click here to see cars with advanced safety systems