10 car companies to make automatic braking systems standard on all models

Toyota Safety Sense

Toyota Safety Sense  (Toyota)

A group of automakers are putting the brakes on all of their new models. Automatic brakes, that is.

The National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) jointly announced today that ten car companies have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems standard on all of their cars.

The technology, which variously uses cameras, radar and lasers to keep an eye on the road ahead and autonomously engages the brakes to avoid collisions when the driver doesn’t, has become an increasingly common option on vehicles in recent years.

 “The evidence is mounting that AEB is making a difference,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund in a press release accompanying the announcement. “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.”

The commitment is voluntary, not regulatory, but the non-governmental IIHS currently requires AEB systems for a car to qualify for its highly-coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation. The cost of the technology varies, but Toyota recently introduced a version for $300.

Studies have estimated that AEB systems can reduce accidents by over 25 percent, potentially saving thousands of lives each year, while IIHS says that insurance claims have been reduced by as much as 35 percent for cars equipped with the technology.

Automakers, NHTSA and IIHS will be meeting in the coming months to work out a time frame for the plan’s full implementation.

Gary Gastelu is's Automotive Editor.