Ten automakers have met the voluntary commitment to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on nearly all new vehicles produced in the U.S., the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Consumer Reports said Thursday.
The voluntary commitment was negotiated by the institute and NHTSA in 2015. Under the agreement, 20 automakers pledged to voluntarily equip at least 95 percent of new light-duty cars and trucks — those weighing 8,500 pounds or less — with the crash-avoidance technology by September 2022.
This year, BMW, Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen joined four other automakers — Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Tesla — that have fulfilled the commitment ahead of schedule.
"This voluntary effort is succeeding in getting an important crash prevention technology into vehicles quickly," IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement. "It's great to see AEB become a mainstream safety feature that's now standard equipment not just on luxury cars and SUVs but on affordable models as well."
The two organizations said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati and Mitsubishi "have some catching up to do," however.
While the voluntary commitment does not specify phase-in milestones, those five automakers "equipped fewer than half of the units they produced with AEB that meets the performance requirements" outlined in the agreement, the groups said.
"The few automakers lagging far behind on their AEB commitment — and especially Fiat Chrysler — must lay out exactly how they'll reach and surpass where the industry is today," David Friedman, vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports, said in a statement.
For light-duty vehicles produced between Sept. 1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2020, Maserati had equipped 48 percent with automatic emergency braking systems, followed by GM (47 percent), Mitsubishi (39 percent) and FCA (14 percent), according to the report.
Jaguar Land Rover has not reported that its AEB-equipped models meet performance requirements set by the agreement, the groups said in the report.
Jeff Jablansky, a spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover, said, "While many Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles do provide AEB functionality, none currently fully satisfy the terms of the [memorandum of understanding] commitment."
Jablansky added: "Work to deliver the NHTSA performance relating to forward-event detection continues and will be available on all vehicles in line with the voluntary agreement timings."
FCA spokesman Eric Mayne told Automotive News that the automaker "will comply as promised."
Under terms of the agreement, the automatic emergency braking systems must come with forward-collision warning that meets two of three NHTSA 5-Star Safety Ratings requirements and automatic emergency braking that earns at least an "advanced" rating from IIHS in vehicle-to-vehicle tests.
Automakers and safety groups such as IIHS agree that automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to reduce traffic crashes and save lives. The institute, for example, estimates the voluntary commitment is expected to prevent 42,000 crashes and 20,000 injuries by 2025. But concerns remain over instances in which the systems have activated even when there was no imminent collision.
"Apart from the commitment, NHTSA does not have performance requirements for automatic emergency braking systems, which is what prompted IIHS to begin evaluating them and issuing ratings in 2013," IIHS spokesman Joe Young said in an email.
"We began wrapping those ratings into our Top Safety Pick+ award criteria in 2014 and later into the criteria for our regular Top Safety Pick award," he added. "This has incentivized automakers to fit their vehicles with systems that perform well at various speeds, and the commitment has further pushed them to make those systems standard across more models each year."