DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. on Friday said it's on pace to add automatic emergency braking on more than half of its U.S. lineup by the end of next year, and it plans to offer the safety feature on every model before 2022.
Two years ago, most major automakers, including Ford, joined government agencies in announcing plans to make the technology standard across their lineups by 2022.
Until now, Ford has offered the technology on a number of models only as an optional feature. The 2019 Edge crossover will be the company's first vehicle with automatic emergency braking as standard when it hits showrooms this summer, followed by the Ranger midsize pickup in early 2019. The technology uses cameras and sensors to detect an imminent front-end crash and tries to stop the vehicle in time.
Raj Nair, Ford's president of North America, said the automaker plans to be "well ahead" of the industry's commitment to install the feature on every model by 2022. Nair told Automotive News that Ford plans to make the feature standard as each vehicle is freshened or redesigned.
"We've been aggressive on the development of the technology, and we'll continue to develop that tech," he said.
Nair said the proportion of buyers who added the feature as an option last year on vehicles such as the F-150 pickup, Fusion sedan and Mustang pony car was lower than Ford expected, showing that consumers needed to be educated about its benefits.
"It is one of those technologies where you don't realize how valuable it is until you have an experience with it," he said.
In an update last month, federal regulators at NHTSA said four of 20 automakers in 2017 equipped at least half of their U.S. models with standard automatic emergency braking, with luxury brands such as Tesla and Mercedes-Benz having the highest rates.
Among the largest automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. offered the technology on 56 percent of its vehicles in 2017, compared with 30 percent for Honda Motor Co., 20 percent for General Motors and less than 10 percent for Ford.
Reuters contributed to this report.