10 automakers will add automatic emergency braking to new vehicles
Automated systems help prevent rear-end collisions, which account for 30% of North American mishaps
Ten major vehicle manufacturers that account for 57 per cent of North American vehicle sales have agreed to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on all new vehicles.
No timeframe has yet been worked out in their agreement with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
But officials said it would likely take a number of years for manufacturers to rework their designs to incorporate the safety feature.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the commitments Friday, saying the development should advance vehicle safety.
"We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen," Foxx said. "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."
Automatic emergency braking aims to prevent the large number of crashes, including rear-end crashes and collisions with pedestrians, in which drivers do not apply the brakes or fail to apply sufficient braking power. About one third of U.S. collisions are rear-enders.
The systems use on-board sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver and, if the driver does not take sufficient action, engage the brakes.
The manufacturers who made the voluntary commitment to automatic emergency braking are:
- BMW AG.
- Ford Motor Co.
- General Motors Co.
- Mazda Motor Co.
- Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz.
- Tesla Motors Inc.
- Toyota Motor Corp.
- Volkswagen AG.
- Volkswagen's Audi AG.
NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind said the agency hasn't ruled out eventually proposing regulations to make the technology mandatory on all vehicles.
Timeline to be worked out
IIHS and the NHTSA plan to work out performance criteria and a timeline for manufacturers to adopt the technology in the coming months. The NHTSA has added two automatic emergency braking systems to its recommended safety features as part of its five-star new car assessment program.
Automatic braking systems are currently available as an option in only about four per cent of cars in North America, according to the business information firm IHS Inc.
But GM says its 2016 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models will offer both the NHTSA-recommended systems.
Toyota said earlier this year said that by the end of 2017 it would offer such systems as an option for nearly all its models, at an additional cost of $300 to $500 on new cars.
With files from Reuters