The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Thursday it has reached an agreement with various carmakers to make automatic braking standard for cars by 2022. Nearly all light trucks are also included in the said agreement.
SUVs as well as pickup trucks will also be included in the scheme within eight years.
With 20 carmakers included in the agreement, it is more than likely that automatic braking will be made available faster than if the government had chosen to go through the long process of establishing mandatory rules.
Still, a number of safety advocates have filed a petition for the government to issue such regulations. They contend that voluntary agreements cannot enforce the requirement. And considering that there are cars that already have automatic braking, issuing such rules could be made quicker.
This technology is known as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system and is an integral part of the development of autonomous vehicles. Such systems utilize on-car-sensors like cameras, radar and laser to detect an immediate crash and engage the brakes should the driver is slow in reacting.
The commitment of the 20 carmakers to the agreement is unprecedented ensuring that this technology will be available to buyers of all car brands in the future. Within six years, almost all American cars will be equipped with automatic braking, and consequently, car crashes and running over accidents will be significantly reduced.
In the U.S. approximately 1.7 million rear-end-crashes occur every year. These accidents usually result in over 200 deaths, 400,000 injuries at a total cost of around $47 billion.
The NHTSA estimates that over one half of these car crashes can be mitigated or completely avoided if all cars will have installed automatic braking systems.
Currently, there are only 17 cars out of all the 194 cars sold in the United States that have automatic braking as standard issue.