Not every breakthrough in the US auto industry is the result of a federal mandate. That's the case right now, as 20 automakers have agreed to voluntarily add autonomous emergency braking (AEB) to their vehicles by September 1, 2022. That will cover roughly 99 percent of the cars sold in the US.
"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 US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. "It's a win for safety and a win for consumers."
The companies in this agreement are: Audi, BMW, FCA, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. This agreement covers all light-duty cars and trucks. By 2025, it will also include heavy-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight of between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that this voluntary move will make AEB standard three full years before a regulatory mandate would be able to do it. Over that time, AEB technology could prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Last year, the NHTSA called on automakers to convene and make AEB standard without a mandate. Following that call to action, the manufacturers started talking, and that brings us to today. Back in September, 10 automakers promised to make AEB standard, but there was no firm date. Exciting times are ahead -- and safety is definitely considered exciting in this case.