General Motors now has 19 models that offer both forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking. Photo courtesy of GM.

General Motors now has 19 models that offer both forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking. Photo courtesy of GM.

Ten major automakers have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles built.

The 10 companies are Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The automakers will work with IIHS and NHTSA in the coming months on details for creating a timeline and implementing the plans.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) jointly announced the agreement on Sept.11, during a dedication ceremony for IIHS’s newly expanded Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Va.

“The evidence is mounting that AEB is making a difference,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Most crashes involve driver error. This technology can compensate for the mistakes every driver makes because the systems are always on alert, monitoring the road ahead and never getting tired or distracted.”

AEB technology is already showing benefits in the real world. Several studies, including a recent report from IIHS, show that AEB technology can reduce insurance injury claims by as much as 35 percent. The 10 manufacturers committing to across-the-board AEB represented 57 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales in 2014.

NHTSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and IIHS both stressed that they will continue to encourage all other light-vehicle and trucking manufacturers to add automated vehicle technology to all their new vehicles as soon as possible.

“We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “But if technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era. These 10 companies are committing to making AEB available to all new-car buyers.”

Automatic emergency braking includes a range of systems designed to address the large number of crashes, especially rear-end crashes, in which drivers don’t apply the brakes or fail to apply enough braking power to avoid or mitigate a crash. AEB systems use on-vehicle sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver and, if the driver fails to take sufficient action, engage the brakes.

In January, NHTSA announced its proposal to add automatic emergency braking to the list of recommended advanced safety features included in its New Car Assessment Program. In May, Foxx announced a series of steps DOT and NHTSA will take to accelerate the development of advanced safety technologies such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous driving.