With self-driving cars seeming to be on the way in the near future, some auto manufacturers are already offering some autonomous features. One such feature is automatic breaking which will stop a car automatically to avoid a collision even if the drivers fails to see a potential problem.
Automatic breaking is a crash prevention technology that regulators say could prevent thousands of deaths and injuries every year. 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.
But while some foreign auto makers are already offering the technology as standard equipment in some high-end models, American auto makers aren’t so quick to deploy the systems.
Nissan and Toyota have both announced that automatic braking systems would be included in many of their models. Toyota has even gone as far as to say that it will make so-called automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all its U.S. models by the end of this year.
But while these Japanese companies are rushing to deployment of the new systems, American manufacturers are not rushing to make automatic brake systems part of the base cost of mainstream vehicles sold in the competitive U.S. market. So far, only about 17 percent of models tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offered standard collision-avoiding braking.
Because of the complexity presented by the new braking systems with increased sensors and software automakers said they need time to engineer the systems into vehicles as part of more comprehensive makeovers.
It could be that U.S. auto makers will bide their time with automatic braking systems choosing instead to deploy a complete autonomous package with self-driving cars instead of just a smart braking system.