In recent years, the automotive industry has witnessed a surge in the adoption of advanced driver-assist technologies to enhance vehicle safety. One prominent feature gaining traction is the Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) system, designed to mitigate collisions by automatically applying the brakes when an imminent crash is detected. While automakers have been actively promoting the inclusion of AEB systems in their vehicles, it may become one of the mandatory road safety features in cars and trucks in the near future.
The Official Mandate
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new rule requiring all new passenger cars and light trucks to be equipped with automated emergency braking systems incorporating pedestrian detection by 2028. This proposed regulation aims to enhance the safety of road users by ensuring vehicles can automatically detect and respond to potential collisions with both vehicles and pedestrians.
Updating the Technology
Automated emergency braking systems, known by various names depending on the manufacturer, share a common objective. They reduce or prevent the severity of crashes by automatically applying the brakes when the driver fails to respond in time. While early AEB systems primarily focused on vehicle detection, the new NHTSA rule expands the scope to include pedestrian detection as well. This evolution in AEB technology demonstrates a commitment to improving overall road safety by mitigating the risk of collisions involving vulnerable road users, both human and automobile.
The Path to Regulation
The journey toward making automated emergency braking technology mandatory has been a gradual process spanning several years. In 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and NHTSA introduced a voluntary pledge that encouraged automakers to enhance and widely implement AEB systems. By the end of 2017, numerous automakers had already made AEB technology standard on a significant portion of their vehicles. European regulators have also enacted rules requiring AEB as a standard feature in vehicles since 2022.
Potential Impact and Considerations
While the NHTSA’s proposed rule has garnered support from safety advocates, there are considerations regarding its timeline and scope. The timeline for implementation allows automakers several years to meet the requirements, but some argue that users should realize the benefits of automated emergency braking systems sooner. Additionally, there are calls for the inclusion of cyclists in the detection capabilities of AEB systems, further expanding their potential to safeguard vulnerable road users. Furthermore, there is a growing consensus that commercial vehicles should also be subject to AEB requirements to maximize road safety.