The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced recently that 99-percent of U.S. automakers have voluntarily committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) standard equipment on virtually all models by the fall of 2022.
This voluntary commitment means that life-saving safety technology will be available to consumers more quickly than would be possible through the typical regulatory process. Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo Car USA.
NHTSA estimates that the agreement will make AEB standard on new cars three years earlier than if the process was accomplished through the official regulatory process. “We’re getting these safety systems into vehicles much faster than what would have been otherwise possible,” said NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark Rosekind. “A commitment of this magnitude is unprecedented, and it will bring more safety to more Americans – sooner.”
During those three years, according to IIHS estimates, the commitment will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries. “It’s an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It’s a win for safety and a win for consumers.”
Based on mounting evidence that AEB effectively reduced crashes and injuries in the U.S. and around the globe, NHTSA and IIHS issued a challenge to the auto industry in September 2015. The challenge encouraged automakers to voluntarily make AEB a standard feature. A series of meetings followed to establish details of the commitment.
“IIHS member companies strongly support the adoption of effective safety technologies,” said IIHS Board Chairman and CEO of American Family Insurance, Jack Salzwedel. “Deploying AEB on a wide scale will allow us to further evaluate the technology’s effectiveness and its impact on insurance losses, so that more insurers can explore offering discounts or lower premiums to consumers who choose AEB-equipped vehicles.”
AEB systems help prevent crashes or reduce their severity by applying the brakes for the driver. The systems rely on electronic sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver and apply the brakes if the driver does not take sufficient action quickly enough.
The NHTSA and IIHS also announced that Consumer Reports will assist in monitoring automaker progress toward meeting the AEB commitment. Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing for Consumer Reports, said, “We have been calling on automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard in all new vehicles, and today is an important step toward reaching that goal. This proven technology is among the most promising safety advances we’ve seen since electronic stability control almost two decades ago. We look forward to working with NHTSA and IIHS to help put this plan into action and hold automakers accountable for their commitments.”
Today’s commitment will make AEB standard on virtually all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 lbs. or less beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2022. AEB will be standard on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 lbs. and 10,000 lbs. beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025.
As NHTSA continues its regulatory work in this area, NHTSA will track the progress industry is making towards its commitment.
The commitment takes into account the evolution of AEB technology. It requires a level of functionality that is in line with research and crash data demonstrating that such systems are substantially reducing crashes, but does not stand in the way of improved capabilities that are just beginning to emerge. The performance measures are based on real world data showing that vehicles with this level of capability are avoiding crashes.
To encourage further development of AEB technology, NHTSA will accelerate its research on more advanced AEB applications, including systems that reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians. In December, NHTSA announced plans to rate AEB systems and other advanced technologies under its 5-Star Safety Ratings beginning in model year 2018.