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Auto Innovators says technology not available to meet federal AEB mandate

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The Alliance for Automotive Innovation has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reconsider portions of its new automatic emergency braking (AEB) mandate.

NHTSA’s new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, FMVSS 127, will require AEB and pedestrian AEB to come standard by September 2029 on all passenger cars and light trucks weighing up to 10,000 pounds.

By then, AEB must stop and avoid rear-end crashes at up to 62 miles per hour and detect pedestrians in daylight and at night.

The standard will require AEB to engage at up to 90 mph when a collision with a lead vehicle is imminent, and up to 45 mph when a pedestrian is detected.

In a June 24 letter to Congress, Auto Innovators President and CEO John Bozzella said the speed requirements are “practically impossible with available technology” and would result in more rear-end collisions. The rule would also cost OEMs $200-$4,200 in hardware plus software changes that won’t improve driver or pedestrian safety and will increase the cost of vehicles for consumers, according to the petition to NHTSA.

“NHTSA’s own data shows only one tested vehicle met the stopping distance requirements in the final rule,” Bozzella wrote. “Instead, we recommended NHTSA adopt a standard already in place in Europe that detects a potential forward collision, provides a driver warning and automatically engages the braking system to avoid a collision — or mitigate its severity — through the use of existing crashworthiness systems designed to better protect road users.”

NHTSA believes its rule will significantly reduce rear-end and pedestrian crashes, saving at least 360 lives and preventing at least 24,000 injuries every year. NHTSA also says AEB and pedestrian AEB will significantly reduce crash-related property damage and associated costs.

“Automakers and suppliers provided NHTSA a series of technical adjustments during the comment period to correct the deficiencies and achieve our shared safety goals,” Bozzella wrote. “Despite partnering with automakers on AEB in 2016, this time the agency rejected the industry’s feedback. In other words, after a decade of shared and substantive work on AEB and a billion dollars invested, NHTSA inexplicably changed course and issued a rule that automakers indicated was not feasible with widely used braking technologies.”

Auto Innovators has asked that the maximum test speeds included in the rule be reduced and for certain terms to be defined such as when a crash is “imminent.”

“In several respects, the final rule establishes requirements that are not objective, not practicable, or neither of these,” the petition states. “In addition, the final rule failed to address some significant comments raising serious concerns related to feasibility, practicability, and unintended consequences.

“As a result, there are questions as to whether the final rule, ‘meets the need for motor vehicle safety.’ The rule also fails to explain the rationale for some of the adopted requirements and fails to acknowledge that it is departing from decades of precedent in regulating motor vehicle stopping distance.”


Featured image credit: Chesky_W/iStock

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