The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) along with 20 automakers are forming a pact to make Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems standard on all light vehicles 8500 lbs. and below by September 1st, 2022. Under the agreement vehicles that are between 8500 lbs. and 10,000 lbs. will have standard AEB systems by September 1st, 2025.
This pact is between Federal regulators, the Insurance Industry, and U.S. automakers and it does not follow the normal regulatory process, which would have added three additional years to the process of converting all vehicles to AEB. The reduced time to market for AEB systems means that 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries throughout the nation would have been prevented according to IIHS estimates. According to the agreement the automakers progress will be monitored by Consumer Reports magazine.
Currently many vehicles are utilizing driver assist technologies such as rear view cameras for backing up, blind spot detection, and lane assist. These technologies are based on sensors and cameras. Automatic Emergency Braking systems are different from driver assist technologies but use the same type of sensors in order to perceive obstacles and detect impending crashes. This data is then used to determine if the brakes should be applied automatically if the driver does not react in time on their own. AEB systems are already available as an option on a wide variety of vehicles in the North American market and are often bundled together with other safety features. These models range from mid-priced to premium vehicles.
The AEB systems use suite of sensors such as radars, lasers, and cameras which perceive obstacles, the data from the sensors is input for an AEB controller with software that detects imminent threats then sends commands to actuators (brakes) in order to automatically prevent crashes. These AEB systems will be the first step in the development of the vehicle infrastructure needed to implement autonomous vehicles. In the future embedded AEB systems will be connected to other vehicles and traffic infrastructures through wireless technology that creates networks dedicated to safety, communication, and convenience.
Some consumer safety groups would rather have a federal regulation created rather than relying on an industry pact between federal agencies, insurance institutes, and automakers. Also there is some criticism that the pact will only serve to formalize already existing driver assist technology planning that each automaker is working on. The reality is that AEB systems already exist today as an option on some vehicles currently available. In order for automakers to remain competitive they will have to offer more capable and cost effective AEB systems which means the production volume will need to increase, this pact seems to be an imperative in order to scale the technology.
The AEB pact has the following participating automakers and their associated brands: BMW, FCA, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai/Kia, JLR, Mazda, Daimler, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo. It seems that if this pact is successful, AEB systems will become ubiquitous and will lay the foundation for further technological advancement in connectivity and autonomous vehicle development.
Photo: ZF TRW