Automated Emergency Braking, Already Common, Could Be Required by 2028

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  • Many new cars have automated emergency braking as part of their ADAS driver assistance packages, but now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing that every new passenger vehicle have AEB tech by the end of the decade.
  • The industry started talking about requiring AEB back in 2016, and a series of voluntary pledges and required rules in the U.S. and Europe have led to major automakers already having AEB on more than 90 percent of the cars they sell.
  • Requiring AEB tech would be “a major leap forward,” but the new rules don’t yet require cars to brake for cyclists. Commercial vehicles are also not included in NHTSA’s new rules.

In the mid-2010s, automakers really started hyping the fact that all of their latest models, even the entry-level cheapos, would soon come with backup cameras. And these driver-assist devices would be standard. It was great news, and also true. But what the car companies didn’t mention as often was that all those new cameras were being installed because the U.S. Department of Transportation required them with a rule that passed in 2014 and came into effect in early 2018.

We mention that bit of history because this week, multiple automakers hyped the fact that many of their vehicles already have automated emergency braking (AEB) systems. GM issued a release that said at least 95 percent of all the vehicles it sells, including all 2023 and newer EVs, have standard AEB technology. A Ford spokesperson said on Twitter that AEB with pedestrian detection is already present on over 96 percent of Ford cars, trucks and SUVs.

Which brings us to the news that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing a new rule for the auto industry that all new passenger cars and light trucks will be required to have automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian detection.

What Is AEB?

Like other new driver-assistance technologies, AEB technology goes by different names at different companies. Toyota calls its version Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, for example. But whatever the name, the idea is the same: a vehicle will automatically apply the brakes when the driver doesn’t in a situation where the car’s sensor and software suite determines that a crash is imminent. Not all AEB systems on the road today can identify a pedestrian, but the new NHTSA rule would require cars to detect both vehicles and pedestrians. NHTSA said it is “actively conducting research” to determine how well AEB systems can respond to bicycles and motorcycles.

In January 2022, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued its first National Roadway Safety Strategy in response to the rising numbers of transportation deaths and serious injuries. The DOT promoted AEB as one way to make roads safer. NHTSA has long said AEB systems are a solution to these “significant safety problem[s]” and has been pushing for more AEB systems in more cars for years. Last October, a study conducted by the AAA found that while AEB systems are useful, many still have flaws.

A Brief History of the Rules

NHTSA is not requiring AEB technology out of the blue. This has been a long process and it will end up being more than a decade between the first discussions about widespread AEB adoption and the rule’s implementation deadlines. If the new NHTSA rule goes into effect, automakers would have at least four years from the date it is implemented to meet all the requirements of adding AEB technology to every new vehicle. Small-volume manufacturers, final-stage manufacturers and alterers have five years.

That means it will be 2028 or 2029 before AEB tech is required. The industry has had time to prepare. In 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and NHTSA proposed a voluntary pledge that auto manufacturers could take to make AEB technology better and more widely available. By the end of 2017, four automakers had made AEB tech standard on more than half of their 2017 model year vehicles, and 20 had pledged to put at least low-speed AEB systems on all their new passenger vehicles by September 1, 2022. European regulators passed a rule that made AEB standard starting in 2022.

Safety advocates are in favor of NHTSA’s proposed rule. The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement that requiring AEBs would be “a major leap forward for road safety” but that the timeline was too far into the future and that cyclists need to be included in the kinds of road users that AEB can see.

The NTSB also said the new AEB rules should apply to commercial vehicles.

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Contributing Editor

Sebastian Blanco has been writing about electric vehicles, hybrids, and hydrogen cars since 2006. His articles and car reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Automotive News, Reuters, SAE, Autoblog, InsideEVs,, Car Talk, and other outlets. His first green-car media event was the launch of the Tesla Roadster, and since then he has been tracking the shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles and discovering the new technology’s importance not just for the auto industry, but for the world as a whole. Throw in the recent shift to autonomous vehicles, and there are more interesting changes happening now than most people can wrap their heads around. You can find him on Twitter or, on good days, behind the wheel of a new EV. 

Source: Motor -


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