Big automakers are rushing to launch self-driving cars as early as 2021, but the industry’s major players are moving slowly when it comes to widespread deployment of a less expensive crash prevention technology that regulators say could prevent thousands of deaths and injuries every year.
Nissan Motor Co Ltd said on Thursday it would make automatic braking systems standard on an estimated 1 million 2018 model cars and light trucks sold in the United States.
This includes high-volume models such as the Rogue and Rogue Sport compact sport utility vehicles, the Altima sedan, Murano and Pathfinder SUVs, LEAF electric car, Maxima sedan and Sentra small car.
Nissan sold about 1.6 .million vehicles in the United States last year.
Rival Toyota Motor Corp. has said it will make so-called automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all its U.S. models by the end of this year.
Overall, however, most automakers are not rushing to make automatic brake systems part of the base cost of mainstream vehicles sold in the competitive U.S. market. The industry has come pressure from regulators, lawmakers and safety advocates to adopt the technology, which can slow or stop a vehicle even if the driver fails to act..
So far, only about 17 percent of models tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offered standard collision-avoiding braking, according to data supplied by the auto safety research group backed insurance industry. Many of the models with standard collision-avoiding brake systems are luxury vehicles made by European or Japanese manufacturers.
The systems require more sensors and software than conventional brakes, and automakers said they need time to engineer the systems into vehicles as part of more comprehensive makeovers.
Last year, 20 automakers reached a voluntary agreement with U.S. auto safety regulators to make collision-avoiding braking systems standard equipment by 2022.
Safety advocates have petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to begin a regulatory process to require the technologies, but the agency has said the voluntary agreement will result in faster deployment than a formal rule-making process. NHTSA says the technology could eliminate one-fifth of crashes.
“Do the math. That’s 5 million crashes every year – 20 percent reduction means 1 million less. Those are big numbers,” Mark Rosekind, the NHTSA’s then-administrator, told Reuters last year.
Read more of the original article in Reuters