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Automakers to Offer Standard Automated Braking

Automakers to Offer Standard Automated Braking

By Joseph Dobrian, September 14, 2015

In a joint statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have announced that they’re encouraging automakers to include automatic emergency braking systems as standard equipment on all their vehicles—and that 10 automakers have already agreed to do so.

The 10 automakers that have committed to the safety effort are Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors (GM), Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, which together represented 57% of all sales of light-duty vehicles in the U.S. last year. They will meet and work with the NHTSA and the IIHS in the next few months to work out an implementation timetable. It’s generally believed that these car companies will have the braking systems in place in all new vehicles within five years.

Automatic emergency braking systems help to prevent, or lessen the impact of, rear-end collisions in particular. The technology varies from one automaker to another, and some systems are more efficient than others, but each system depends on various sensing devices that will warn the driver that a collision is imminent—and will automatically engage the brakes if the driver doesn’t.

Many automakers have been offering emergency braking technology as an option for several years. Of all 2015 models, 27% offer the technology: double the percentage for the 2012 model year, according to the safety agencies. Including these systems as standard equipment won’t be compulsory, but other manufacturers are certain to follow the lead of the original 10, especially since the IIHS now requires these systems if a car is to qualify for its “Top Safety Pick+” designation. The IIHS states that insurance claims have dropped by about 35% on cars equipped with the technology. According to the NHTSA, rear-impact collisions account for 30% of all crashes involving two vehicles, and 11% of all fatal multi-vehicle collisions.

Mercedes already offers a standard front-crash-prevention system in its 2015 C-Class, CLA-Class, and E-Class sedans. About 250,000 Volvo vehicles extant in the U.S. employ automatic emergency braking. The company introduced a low-speed version of the system as standard in the 2009 XC60 model, and made it standard for all Volvo vehicles in 2014, according to a company statement.

General Motors issued the following statement through Jeff Boyer, GM vice president of global vehicle safety: “General Motors supports the call for a voluntary industry safety agreement that would lead to making forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking standard on light vehicles. Both technologies are available today on dozens of 2016-model Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac models. Thirty-seven models are available with forward-collision alert—accounting for more than 1 million vehicles on the road—and 19 models offer both forward-collision alert and automatic emergency braking. GM today offers 22 different crash-avoidance technologies on vehicles sold in the U.S., from entry-level Chevrolet models to the upcoming Cadillac CT6.”

GM started offering a forward-collision alert system with the 2004 Cadillac XLR, and introduced automatic emergency braking in the 2013 Cadillac XTS, ATS, and SRX.
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