Auto Tech

Standard automatic braking grows in popularity ahead of schedule

Self-imposed standards be damned, the democratization of active safety systems is gaining traction faster than some thought it might.

It seems like not so long ago that we were laughing online about Volvo attempting to test its automatic emergency braking system in front of journalists and watching a then-new S60 drive straight into the back of a truck, but things got better.

Automatic emergency braking is becoming more prevalent on new vehicles thanks to manufacturers voluntarily adopting the technology across their model ranges. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently stated that while only four major auto manufacturers offer AEB as standard on at least half of their vehicles, another five manufacturers state that the take rate for AEB as an option is as high as 30 percent.

Mercedes-Benz is one of the most widespread adopters of AEB technology, with 96 percent of its vehicles making use of it.

Mercedes-Benz

A full 20 manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo also have vowed to equip all vehicles with low-speed automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning by Sept. 1, 2022.

"IIHS is pleased to see that automakers are steadily moving toward the shared goal of putting standard AEB into every new car they sell. This is a big win for safety on our nation's roads, which will see fewer crashes and injuries because of this commitment," said David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer of IIHS, in a statement.

Based on information from IIHS, Toyota is leading the field in terms of actual vehicles on the road, with 1.4 million of its 2017 production vehicles coming standard with AEB, followed by General Motors with 551,777 vehicles and Honda coming in third with 492,330 vehicles. When you look at percentages rather than volume, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz lead the field with 99.8 percent and 96 percent of vehicles coming with standard AEB respectively, followed by Volvo and BMW. This isn't terribly surprising considering that these brands are often viewed as being technologically forward-thinking and generally early adopters of new safety devices.

The surprise in all this is that there is currently no legislation in the US that mandates automatic emergency braking for new vehicles, unlike anti-lock brakes or stability control. This seems to be purely a response to customer demand for increased safety in motor vehicles and highlights the trend towards active safety features across the automotive market. I love it when a plan comes together.