Only around 19% of new 2017 model year vehicles sold in the US featured automatic emergency braking systems, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has revealed.
Overall, considering the potential for the technology to greatly reduce the number of auto collisions (and thus fatalities), that figure would seem to be a bit low. I’m sure many observers and safety groups would like it to be much higher soon.
This news follows a voluntary agreement in 2016 between the NHTSA and 20 auto manufacturers to make automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems standard on essentially all light-duty vehicles (~99% of all vehicle sales in US) by September 2022.
So, while there’s still a fair bit of time left for the auto manufacturers in question to meet the terms of the voluntary agreement, most auto manufacturers are clearly not in any kind of hurry — despite the potential for such systems to greatly reduce auto collisions, injuries, and associated costs.
To provide some more background here, automatic emergency braking systems are systems that activate the brakes automatically when associated tech detects an impending impact (an object ahead) when the driver isn’t slowing down. Such systems obviously cost a fair bit of money to implement, hence the unwillingness of some auto manufacturers to speed up the process of making them standard on more models.
Reuters provides more: “The push comes as US traffic deaths jumped 5.6% in 2016 to a decade-high 37,461, and pedestrian deaths rose 9% to 5,987, the highest number since 1990. By 2025, standard automatic braking systems could prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimated.”
“… Luxury automakers have been quick to install the systems, while others have lagged. Tesla Inc and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz unit have installed the technology on virtually all vehicles sold, according to figures released by NHTSA.
“Toyota Motor Corp has the largest number of 2017 model vehicles with automatic emergency braking, equipping 56% of its fleet, or 1.4 million vehicles. Volkswagen AG’s VW brand has it in 36% of vehicles, while its Audi unit has it in 73% of vehicles. Its Porsche unit did not install the technology on any 2017 vehicles. Subaru Corp has the technology in nearly all vehicles sold.”
Elsewhere … GM only installed automatic emergency braking systems on around 20% of 2017 model year vehicles sold; Fiat Chrysler only did on around 6%; and Ford only did on around 2%. Jaguar Land Rover and India’s Tata Motors didn’t install such systems on any 2017 model year vehicles.
When queried about the low figures by Reuters, reps for GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford stated essentially what one would expect at this point — such systems were available as an option on many models, they were coming “in the future,” yada, yada, yada…
As noted by the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, Jason Levine, such auto manufacturers are “playing roulette with the lives of consumers who cannot afford safety as a luxury.”
Not just the consumers themselves foregoing “luxury” of course, but also those who they might injure in the case of an accident.
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.