It will be a while before we have fully autonomous vehicles, but 20 carmakers have just committed to making Automatic Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) or Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) standard by 2022.
A recent study suggests that if all cars feature the system, it will reduce accidents by up to 27 percent and save up to 8,000 lives per year.
These braking systems use sensors such as lasers, cameras or radar to detect vehicles or pedestrians ahead of the vehicle. In the event that a potential collision is anticipated, the systems typically warn the driver first. If there is no evasive braking or steering action taken, the brakes are automatically applied to avoid collision or at least reduce severity.
The goal to have them standard in new vehicles is sought after by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The initial challenge was made by these two organizations in September of 2015.
The NHTSA says the agreement will make the technology standard three years faster than could be achieved through a formal regulatory process. In those three years, it believes 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries will be averted. The positive impact of the move is not expected to stop there though.
The implementation of these systems will create a domino effect. From injuries and deaths averted to productivity that would be otherwise lost in traffic jams caused by the accidents by getting travelers to their destination more quickly and allowing the emergency crews to focus on other situations. In this way, the IIHS assures that all Americans will benefit from the technology. Furthermore, the technology also stands to reduce costs of car ownership by lowering insurance rates.
The carmakers that have agreed to the the commitment are Audi, BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, 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. According to the NHTSA, these represent more than 99 percent of the US auto market.
The 2022 agreement is focused on light-duty vehicles weighing up to 8,500 pounds. Manufacturers of trucks weighing up to 10,000 pounds will come standard with AEB by September of 2025.