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Automatic braking to be standard by 2022? U.S. and automakers reportedly have a deal

Major automakers and the U.S. government have reached an agreement to make automatic emergency braking standard on most cars by 2022, two people briefed on the deal said.

The agreement will be announced Thursday by automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Automakers will phase in the equipment on nearly all models except some with older electronic capabilities and some with manual transmissions, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the agreement haven’t been announced.

Automatic emergency braking uses cameras, radar and other sensors to see objects in the way and slow or stop a vehicle if the driver doesn’t react.

The technology already is available as an option on many models, but automakers are struggling with how to fit it into current product plans. Making the feature standard equipment on nearly all cars will speed adoption of the technology.

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Gordon Trowbridge, spokesman for the safety agency, would not comment before the official announcement.

Cars with automatic braking can cut rear-end crashes by about 40%, eliminating about 700,000 police-reported crashes per year, based on 2013 data, according to a study released in January by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That number represents 13% of all crashes, according to the study.

The automatic braking systems are the biggest safety advancement since electronic stability control, said Jake Fisher, auto testing chief for Consumer Reports magazine.

“It’s the first time we’re seeing a system that will see a problem and react for you,” Fisher said. “That’s kind of a new frontier, I think, in automotive safety.”


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