Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) Will Be a Standard Feature in New Cars, Light Trucks by 2029

New NHTSA safety rule will require auto makers to include AEB systems in all passenger vehicles and light trucks by September 2029, instead of reserving the life-saving technology for luxury vehicles.

Federal safety officials have finalized new rules that will require automatic emergency braking (AEB) to be a standard feature in all new passenger cars and light-weight trucks within the next five years, since the technology has been established to reduce the risk of severe injuries, loss of life, and significant property damage, yet is often only included in luxury vehicles.

The U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the new AEB Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard on April 29, which will make AEB and pedestrian AEB (PAEB) required on all passenger cars and light trucks.

Automatic Emergency Braking Systems

AEB systems utilize sensors to detect potential collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. If the driver fails to respond, the brakes are automatically engaged. PAEB systems are specifically designed to detect individuals under various lighting conditions, including daylight and nighttime.

In the past, vehicle manufacturers have predominantly reserved automatic braking features for their luxury or high-end vehicles. However, it has been well-documented that AEB systems effectively reduce the risks of crashes and pedestrian accidents, according to the NHTSA.

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With AEB technology having been available for some time and with the advancements in today’s technology, federal safety officials estimate this new standard will save a minimum of 360 lives and prevent around 24,000 injuries annually, thus making roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians.

A number of auto manufacturers have already made moves to provide AEB systems as standard equipment in future designs. As early as 2017 Nissan committed to making AEB systems standard in 1 million vehicles, which began to roll off production lines in 2018. In addition the NHTSA has also proposed a rulemaking that would require buses and trucks to include AEB systems.

The rules align with recent NHTSA efforts to implement advanced driver assistance systems in more vehicles, since the widely available technology has been clearly shown to reduce collision risks with other motor vehicles, pedestrians, and roadway objects.

Under this new standard, all vehicles must be capable of stopping and avoiding contact with the vehicle in front of them at speeds of up to 62 mph.

Additionally, the system must automatically engage the brakes when a collision with a leading vehicle is imminent, operating at speeds of up to 90 mph. Similarly, when a pedestrian is detected, the system should apply brakes at speeds of up to 45 mph.

The new rule not only meets the requirements set forth in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but also aligns with the NHTSA’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, which was initiated in January 2022 to address the concerning increase in traffic fatalities and severe injuries nationwide.

This standard applies to almost all light vehicles in the U.S. with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less and goes into effect in September 2029.


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