Automatic brakes to become mandatory in 40 countries in 2020

- Leadership - Feb 13, 2019

The United Nations has announced the approval of a draft by 40 countries and regions, led by Japan and the European Union, that will require automatic braking systems to become mandatory in new passenger and light commercial vehicles. According to a MarketWatch report, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) announced the success of the draft agreement, claiming the new regulations would further pave the way forwards into a world where self-driving cars are commonplace. The regulations are expected to come into effect as early as Q1 2020.

The new regulations would require all new cars to be equipped with proximity sensor technology linked to the vehicle’s braking system. The sensors monitor how close a pedestrian might be to the bumper, and can automatically trigger the brakes if it deems a collision to be imminent.

MarketWatch reports that “UNECE says agreeing countries want to be more proactive in fighting roadway accidents, particularly in urban settings where obstacles like pedestrians, scooters, bicycles and other cars in close proximity abound. The agency pointed to more than 9,500 roadway deaths in the European bloc alone in 2016, and EU Commission estimates that the braking systems could help save over 1,000 lives each year in the bloc.”

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While the short-term implications of the regulations are aimed at reducing road deaths, the long-term ramifications are speculated to have more to do with the race to adopt self-driving cars. Advanced emergency braking systems are a core technology of autonomous vehicles, the Nikkei Asian Review reports, and ushering the technology into the global marketplace sooner may help set international safety standards as the race to bring self-driving cars to market intensifies every day.

China, India and the United States were among the countries who declined to sign the draft. While this will mean their automakers can continue to sell vehicles without automatic braking systems in their home territories, the need to include these measures on vehicles sold in Japan, the EU and elsewhere will, the Nikkei Asian Review predicts, cause these automakers to comply with the regulations at home anyway.

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