The number of car makers committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new cars has doubled this week. On Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced that 20 manufacturers are now on board with the plan, which will see AEB systems installed throughout their model ranges by 2022. In September of last year, we reported that 10 OEMs had already made the pledge.
In the past, government mandates were needed to spread advanced driver safety aids like airbags or electronic stability control systems beyond the luxury cars in which they first appeared. In this case, the auto industry has gotten ahead of possible NHTSA regulation and looks set to implement AEB itself.
Speaking at an event last fall, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said that the agency wanted to see OEMs implement AEB as quickly as possible. “Safety,” he said, “should not be a luxury item. Its an obligation for all of us.” Whether 2022 qualifies as “quickly” is a matter of opinion, but the time frame may be reasonable given the long product development lifecycles of new vehicles.
AEB systems use a car’s sensors (usually optical or radar) to detect an imminent front collision and both alert the driver and apply the brakes to prevent that from happening. The new OEMs to make this commitment are Fiat-Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, and Subaru. They join Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, representing 99 percent of the US car market.