The NHTSA has proposed rules that would make this safety technology mandatory on any passenger vehicle weighing less than 10,000 lbs.
These rules will include standards to ensure each manufacturer’s system is effective.
The agency says these new rules could save about 360 lives per year on U.S. roads.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) has proposed a new set of rules that aim to make effective autonomous emergency braking systems mandatory in new passenger vehicles in the United States.
Autonomous emergency braking technologies use radars and cameras to detect obstacles in the vehicle’s path and act on the braking system in order to avoid a collision or at least, greatly reduce its severity.
While these systems have been on the market for a while already and are now offered in about 90% of all passenger vehicles sold in North America, no rules currently dictate their effectiveness.
Indeed, autonomous emergency braking systems vary widely in terms of performance between manufacturers and even between different models sold by the same brand.
This is why the NHTSA doesn’t want to stop at making these technologies mandatory and instead proposed minimum standards every vehicle will have to clear in order to be approved for sale in the U.S.
According to the details of these new rules, vehicles will need to be able to avoid a collision with another stationary car at speeds up to 62 mph (100 km/h).
Since a large number of traffic fatalities every year are pedestrians, the NHTSA also wants new vehicles to be able to avoid a pedestrian at speeds up to 37 mph (60 km/h).
In addition, these systems will need to meet the requirements in both daytime and nighttime scenarios, thus addressing a common complaint of current systems that perform well during the day and then fail when lighting conditions are not optimal.
Making improved autonomous emergency braking systems mandatory on every new passenger car weighing less than 10,000 pounds sold in the United States could help save about 360 lives and 24,000 injuries per year, according to the NHTSA.
This proposal should help alleviate what the U.S. Department of Transportation describes as a “crisis in traffic fatalities and serious injuries”.
The proposal is about to enter a 60-day public-comment period after which its details will be finalized. Then, automakers will have three years to make all of their vehicles compliant by installing improved autonomous emergency braking systems as standard.