Ten major car makers have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles, according to U.S. transportation officials.
Consumers now can only get these systems, which use radar, laser or cameras to sense an impending collision and automatically apply the brakes, as added features on higher-end models. The automatic braking systems either prevent a crash or at least lessen their severity, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
“We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “But if technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era. These 10 companies are committing to making AEB available to all new-car buyers.”
The announcement was made at the dedication of IIHS’s newly expanded Vehicle Research Center. The implementation of AEB represents a major step toward making crash-prevention technologies more widely available to consumers, the IIHS said.
The 10 companies – Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo – will work with IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months on the details of implementing their landmark commitment, including the timeline for making AEB a standard feature.
The Department and IIHS encourage all other light-vehicle and trucking manufacturers to bring automated vehicle technology to all vehicles on U.S. roadways as soon as possible.
Says the NHTSA in its announcement: “Automatic emergency braking includes a range of systems designed to address the large number of crashes, especially rear-end crashes, in which drivers do not apply the brakes or fail to apply sufficient braking power to avoid or mitigate a crash.”
The expanded IIHS facility that opened Friday was made possible by special funding provided by IIHS’s insurance company sponsors. It provides IIHS with the capabilities needed to test evolving crash-avoidance technology.