All 20 participating automakers have fulfilled a voluntary pledge to equip nearly all the light vehicles they produce for the U.S. market with automatic emergency braking (AEB).
Five new manufacturers installed AEB on more than 95 percent of the light vehicles they produced between Sept. 1, 2022, and Aug. 31, 2023, to meet the deadline set in the agreement. General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati and Porsche all dramatically increased the proportion of their vehicles equipped with the technology to meet the target. Kia, which was already close last year, also crossed the finish line.
“The successful completion of this milestone shows what can be achieved when automakers and safety advocates work together toward our common goal of eliminating as many crashes as possible,” IIHS President David Harkey said.
Audi, BMW, Ford/Lincoln, Honda/Acura, Hyundai/Genesis, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan/Infiniti, Stellantis, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota/Lexus, Volkswagen and Volvo fulfilled the voluntary commitment in previous years.
The 2016 commitment was brokered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In it, the automakers pledged to equip at least 95 percent of their cars and trucks up to 8,500 pounds with the technology by the production year that ended Aug. 31. Consumer Reports agreed to assist in monitoring the pledges.
“Car buyers today will find that almost any new vehicle they buy comes standard with a city-speed AEB system, typically with pedestrian detection. This is significant progress, and it sets the stage for the strong federal safety standards that have been proposed,” said William Wallace, associate director of safety policy for Consumer Reports.
To fulfill their commitment, manufacturers must attest that the AEB system on their vehicles meets certain performance standards. The forward collision warning feature must meet a subset of NHTSA’s current requirements on the timing of driver alerts. The AEB must either be able to slow the vehicle by at least 10 mph in one of two tests conducted at 12 and 25 mph or by 5 mph at both speeds — the level of performance needed for an advanced rating in the Institute’s original vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention evaluation.
“Thanks to this cooperation, automakers made this safety feature standard equipment years before there was a legal mandate requiring them to do so,” Harkey said. “Now that a regulation is on the horizon, the progress that we’ve made will be set in stone and expanded on to generate even bigger benefits.”
NHTSA unveiled a proposal on May 31 to require that all new passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less to have AEB capable of braking to fully avoid a crash with another vehicle at up to 50 mph, with a four-year grace period from the date the eventual rule is adopted. If the regulation is adopted in its present form, vehicles will also have to be able to stop for pedestrians from speeds up to 40 mph, and the pedestrian detection will have to work in dark conditions — a requirement for which IIHS had petitioned.
In June, the agency proposed a regulation that would mandate AEB capable of preventing crashes with other vehicles for trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
Pedestrian detection has been part of IIHS award criteria for several years running, and, as of 2023, a nighttime test was added to the battery of evaluations needed for TOP SAFETY PICK+. Next year, the Institute plans to introduce a higher-speed vehicle-to-vehicle AEB test that involves motorcycle and large truck targets as well as passenger cars.
Consumer Reports currently awards additional points to a vehicle’s Overall Score for models that have AEB with pedestrian detection as standard equipment and for AEB that operates at highway speeds. In order to be named a CR Top Pick, a vehicle must have both.
Under the commitment, automakers have slightly longer to meet the 95 percent threshold when vehicles with manual transmissions and heavier vehicles are included in the calculation. By the production year that begins Sept. 1, 2024, automakers will need to equip 95 percent of all their light vehicles, whether automatic or manual, with AEB. By the production year beginning Sept. 1, 2025, they will need to meet the threshold for their entire production volume, including those vehicles in the 8,500-10,000 pound category.
They are well on the way.
More than three-quarters of the automakers already meet the 95 percent threshold with manual-transmission vehicles included in their production totals.
Four of the five automakers that produce 8,500-10,000 pound vehicles for the U.S. market — Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan — already meet the threshold with those heavier vehicles included. Stellantis is closing in on the target.
Some manufacturers are reaching the overall benchmark while still leaving many of their 8,500-10,000 pound vehicles unequipped, however. So far, only Mercedes-Benz and Nissan have equipped all of their 8,500-10,000 pound vehicles with AEB, while Ford has equipped 78 percent and General Motors just 6 percent. Stellantis, which has yet to reach the 2025 goal, has equipped 47 percent.
“We urge the automakers with heavier vehicles to make AEB standard right away,” said CR’s Wallace. “Whether you buy a small sedan or a large pickup, everyone should have the protection that AEB provides on the road.”
IIHS expects the voluntary commitment to prevent 42,000 crashes and 20,000 injuries by 2025. The estimate is based on IIHS research that found that front crash prevention systems with both forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking cut rear-end crashes by half.
|Percent of vehicles produced Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 with AEB
As reported by manufacturer for light-duty vehicles with gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less. May exclude vehicles with manual transmissions.
|Jaguar Land Rover
* Percentage carried over from earlier report. Companies are not required to submit updates after they meet the target.