Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a commitment from 20 different automakers — representing more than 99 percent of the United States automotive industry — to make Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems a standard feature by no later than September 2022.
One of those 20 automakers was Toyota.
Well, it doesn't seem that the Japanese company will be waiting until then to adopt the technology after all. On Monday, Toyota and its luxury line, Lexus, announced that they will have AEB systems as a standard feature on nearly all of their models by the end of next year. How? Well, Toyota and Lexus are fast-tracking the installation of their touted Toyota Safety Sense and Lexus Safety System technology packages.
"At Toyota, we are committed to creating better ways to move for everyone," Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota, said in the company's press release statement Monday. "High-level driver assist technologies can do more than help protect people in the event of a crash; they can help prevent some crashes from ever happening in the first place. We are proud to help lead this industry in standardizing these systems and bring automated braking to our customers sooner rather than later."
Altogether, 25 of 30 Lexus and Toyota models will have the AEB systems, which is part of the Lexus Safety System and Toyota Safety Sense. Each high-technology package aims to offer three driver-assistance features, including preventing or mitigating forward collisions, including pedestrians, lane-keeping and enhancing road safety for nighttime driving.
Both the Toyota Safety Sense and Lexus Safety System are equipped with everything from a pre-collision system (see video below), which includes vehicle and pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beam. It also includes what the automaker calls its dynamic radar cruise control, which boasts vehicle-to-vehicle distance control.
During last week's historic announcement, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stressed how important of a technology AEB systems will be to the industry, and more importantly, to drivers on American roads.
"It's an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives," Foxx said as part of the Nhtsa's announcement. "It's a win for safety and a win for consumers."
Well, it looks like Toyota will get that win sooner than the rest.
Although other automakers offer AEB systems as options usually on higher-end models, Toyota pledging to do so on nearly all models by the end of 2017 sets a new precedence.