The UN wants to make automatic emergency braking systems mandatory

The UN wants to make automatic emergency braking systems mandatory

Recently the European Union backed a draft U.N. regulation for advanced emergency braking systems (AEBS) to become mandatory in new cars starting in 2020. This initiative, drafted by the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will set out standardized requirements for these systems in cars and light trucks at speeds of up to 60 kmh (37 mph). The draft of this regulation specifies the technical requirements of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems, which are available as options in a growing number of new vehicles sold today.  

“Some 40 Countries have agreed on a draft United Nations Regulation for Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) for cars,” UNECE said this week. ‘This will significantly improve road safety, especially in cities, where in the European Union alone, over 9,500 fatalities were recorded in 2016, accounting for 38 percent of all road deaths. Inside urban areas, 50 percent of the fatalities were drivers and 40 percent were pedestrians.”

The U.N. body cited a study conducted by European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) and Australasian NCAP that concluded that the presence of low-speed AEB systems leads to a 38 percent reduction in rear-end crashes, when compared to a study sample of equivalent vehicles not equipped with these systems.

The proposed U.N. regulation would create the first standardized set of technical requirements for these systems; despite the fact that a large number of automakers offer various forms of AEB systems there is no uniformity in operation among them, and with a few exceptions they are offered as optional rather than standard equipment in cars. The U.N. regulation will specify the conditions under which these systems operate even if automakers themselves use different technologies — a mix of radar and cameras — to achieve the same result. At the moment only a few automakers have fielded AEB systems with pedestrian detection, which requires a different mix of hardware and software to achieve on a level acceptable to automakers. Pedestrian detection systems typically use a mix of cameras and radar to identify pedestrians in urban areas, with the ability to track dozens of moving figures simultaneously.

“The new UN Regulation will impose strict and internationally harmonized requirements for the use of AEBS at low speeds, even in complex and unpredictable situations such as traffic in urban areas,” UNECE added. “The Regulation sets out test requirements for the deployment of AEBS at a range of different speeds, from 0-60 km/h.”

The draft of the regulations will be submitted to the World Forum for adoption in June 2019, and would then enter into force in early 2020. AEB systems would then become mandatory in all new cars and light commercial vehicles in the European Union starting in 2022, and a number of other countries outside the E.U.

Not a whole lot, at least not on paper because the U.S. is not a signatory to the original U.N. document on which this regulation is based — the regulation will only mandate AEB systems in cars in countries that adopt it at the June session. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that a group of 20 automakers has already committed to offering AEB systems as standard equipment in virtually all new cars and trucks in the U.S. by 2022. That should account for well over 90 percent of the vehicles that will be offered in the U.S. in 2022.

“Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA,” the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced in 2016. “The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process.”