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EU and Japan set to mandate standard AEB for 2020

In a move that has the genuine potential to save thousands of lives, and prevent millions of injuries, the EU and Japan have backed a draft United Nations regulation to make Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) mandatory on all new cars and light commercial vehicles from 2020.

The regulation would impose strict requirements on all new cars built from that date to be able to brake automatically if danger is detected at speeds of up to 60km/h.

It’s a move that will definitely save lives, according to the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

"It activates the brake to stop a crash. It will not drive, it will brake," UNECE spokesman Jean Rodriguez told a briefing. He added that there would be no obligation to retrofit older vehicles with AEB, no doubt due to the huge potential cost.

Japan and the EU have agreed to the deal to make AEB systems mandatory on all cars they build - which adds up to four million a year in Japan and 15m in Europe.

Unfortunately, the US, China and India are not signatories to the agreement. India has, however, announced that it will demand AEB be mandatory on all new vehicles by 2022, and it’s very much a live issue in the US as well, with many car makers pledging, outside of any legislation, to make it standard equipment by 2022.

The UNECE said the wider roll-out of AEB (which is already in many modern cars) would help to save lives in urban settings in particular.

In Europe alone, more than 9500 people died in car car crashes inside city limits in 2016, and 40 per cent of those were pedestrians.

You’ll no doubt be surprised to hear that Australia is dragging the chain on making AEB a compulsory fitment to new cars sold here, despite a campaign by VicRoads to make it happen.

VicRoads' acting deputy chief executive, Robyn Seymour, has been pushing for a change to ADRs to make AEB compulsory, just as we did with electronic stability control systems, back in 2011.

"In a range of forums we have had with the Commonwealth, we have been advocating for the fact that the Commonwealth has a key role to play in the space of road safety and they have one of the strongest capacities to ensure we are getting safer vehicles on the road,” Ms Seymour said.

"It is one of the technologies we know will be very effective in reducing crashes so we’re keen to work with them on how we might develop that ADR.”

In a 2014 investigation, the RACV found that up to 40 per cent of crashes could be prevented by the technology.

Has AEB saved you from a likely impact? Tell us in the comments below.