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Feds to Require New Vehicles Have Automatic Technology

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved a mandate that will require automatic emergency braking systems for new vehicles by September 2029.

Texas highway
(TNS) — A big change for cars and trucks was approved last week, and it brings us another step closer to fully automated vehicles.

Last Monday, April 29, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved a mandate that will require automatic emergency braking systems for new vehicles by September 2029.

The AEB systems, already included with many new vehicles, use sensors to detect other vehicles or pedestrians in front of the vehicle and if the driver fails to stop will apply the brakes.

In a statement, the NHTSA said the mandate will require AEB systems to have the ability to stop and avoid vehicles in front of them at up to 62 mph along with being able to detect pedestrians in daylight and in the dark. The AEB system also must be able to apply the brakes automatically at up to 90 mph "when a collision with a lead vehicle is imminent" and up to 45 mph when a pedestrian is involved.

The transportation administration said the emergency braking standard "will save at least 360 lives a year and prevent at least 24,000 injuries annually" while also reducing property damage.

NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said in the statement that the AEB "technology is now so advanced that we're requiring these systems to be even more effective at higher speeds and to detect pedestrians. Most new vehicles already come with AEB, and we expect that many cars and light trucks will be able to meet this standard ahead of the deadline, meaning even more lives will be saved thanks to this technology."

There is a similar mandate being finalized that will require AEB systems for heavy vehicles, including tractor trailers.

In a Q&A released by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, its Executive Director Zachary Doerzaph said the institute has studied automatic braking as part of advanced driver assistance systems for decades.

While noting the NHTSA's prediction on safety improvements with the AEB mandate, Doerzaph said "we foresee the potential to realize substantially higher safety gains as manufactures broaden the applications of the technology."

He also noted that the technological advances with AEB will "help accelerate the deployment of additional driver assistance applications, enabling even greater gains in safety."

Although the proliferation of AEB systems is expected to improve safety, the technology needs a little help from drivers to work as intended.

"Much like human vision, the system is limited by visibility," Doerzaph said. "It is not able to see around hills, curves, or other obstacles. Thus, if a driver is moving too quickly for the roadway conditions, the effectiveness of AEB is reduced. It is imperative that we continue working to reduce the prevalence of speed, which remains a significant challenge on our roadways."

© 2024 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.