Last year 20 automakers that control 99 percent of the U.S. market agreed to make Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) a standard feature across almost all models by 2022.

After one year, some are way ahead and others have barely started.

Consumer Reports has long called for automakers to make AEB standard equipment in cars sold in the U.S., and last year CR began awarding bonus points in the Overall Score of vehicles that include AEB and forward-collision warning (FCW) as standard features across all trim levels of a model.

“It shouldn’t take buying a luxury car or pricey add-ons for a consumer to get this protection,” says William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “All automakers should quickly make both low-speed and high-speed systems standard.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety negotiated the voluntary agreement under the theory that consumers would benefit from the technology faster if compliance were voluntary, rather than mandated through a regulatory process. Consumer Reports supported the deal and agreed to monitor compliance. 

But the agreement only calls for implementing low-speed AEB systems. As a result, even if manufacturers meet the terms of the agreement, high-speed AEB may not be a standard feature on every model. Because motorists are more likely to be killed or seriously injured at higher speeds, Consumer Reports encourages automakers to offer high-speed AEB.

If a car equipped with AEB senses a potential collision with a vehicle in front and the driver doesn’t react in time, it brakes for you. The latest study from the IIHS found rear-end crashes for models equipped with AEB were cut by 50 percent.

The automakers promised that the technology would be made standard on all models except heavy-duty pickup trucks. The agreement also includes a pledge to adopt FCW.  

More on Advanced Safety Systems

So far, Volvo, Toyota, and Mercedes are leading the way. Volvo made AEB standard for all its models in 2014. Toyota aims to make AEB standard on all models by the end of 2017. Nissan is also ahead of schedule, saying it is likely to have standard AEB on more than a million vehicles sold in 2018. AEB comes standard on every Mercedes model except the G-Class. Mazda has taken a major step forward as well, with an announcement that low-speed AEB will come standard on all 2018 models except for the MX-5 Miata.

“Safety remains one of our top priorities, and we take a long-term view when it comes to our product decisions,” says Chris Nielsen, chief quality officer for Toyota. “Ultimately, as customer adoption rates for advanced safety features increase, we will be prepared to meet demand.”

Automakers that are sold on the technology, such as Nissan, describe it as a breakthrough that prevents not only fatal accidents but also the smaller fender-benders that can disrupt consumers’ lives. Nissan feels that even if it’s an unfamiliar technology, the company needs to “communicate to consumers, teach them the benefits of new technologies and create desire,” says Michael Bunce, Nissan North America’s vice president of product planning.

“In a market with so many choices, we want Nissan to stand out by standing for something,” Bunce says. “Our guiding principle is to innovate and bring unique, market-leading features to many of our vehicles, not just to the most expensive vehicles.”

And then there’s Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Neither offers standard AEB on any models.

Both still plan to meet the terms of the agreement, they say. “We strongly support the voluntary agreement to proliferate AEB,” says Eric Mayne, Fiat Chrysler spokesman. “Accordingly, we are adding our robust brand of the technology to a steadily growing number of vehicles.”

And Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt says, “Ford was one of the original collaborators on the voluntary adoption of AEB standardization, and we have a plan to standardize over time.”

The Detroit area’s other automaker, GM, currently offers standard AEB on only one of 42 models sold under its four brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. It says AEB will be available on two-thirds of its models next year, but it won’t be a standard feature.

Although progress hasn’t been made across the board, David Zuby, executive vice president and chief research officer at the IIHS, says he is pleased with the steps that manufacturers have taken so far. “I think that’s good news for the idea that a voluntary commitment, while not having the same teeth as regulation, can achieve similar gains.”

NHTSA didn’t respond to questions for this article.

CR reached out to all 20 automakers involved with this agreement and asked them which of their models will have AEB as a standard or optional feature on their 2018 models. The chart below incorporates their responses. 

2017 Toyota Highlander driving.
2017 Toyota Highlander

Where The Automakers Stand Now

Audi

Audi says nearly 80 percent of its fleet comes with AEB standard. Audi reported that it would be bringing that number close to 100 percent by the 2019 model year.

BMW

AEB is currently optional on almost every BMW; low-speed AEB is standard on only one model, the i8. Low-speed AEB will also come as a standard feature on the upcoming BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo.

Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesFiat Chrysler does not offer AEB standard on any models, but it is available as an option on 11 of its 21 vehicles, with one more model coming next year.
FordFord does not offer AEB standard on any models, though it is an optional feature on four models. Ford reported that AEB will be made available as an option on three additional vehicles in the 2018 model year.
General MotorsGM reports that AEB will be available as an option on nearly two-thirds of its models by the end of 2017.
Honda

About 95 percent of Honda models sold in the U.S. will come with AEB standard by the 2020 model year, according to a spokesman. AEB is optional equipment on most 2017 models, and it comes standard on the Honda Accord and Accord Hybrid, and two Acura models. Honda representatives did not provide explicit details about the 2018 model year.

HyundaiAEB currently comes standard on the Genesis, and it is an optional feature on six other models. Hyundai reported that AEB will be optional on every 2018 model with the exception of the Veloster compact car.
Jaguar Land Rover

AEB comes standard on the F-Type, E-Pace, Velar, Range Rover, and Range Rover Sport. The feature is available on all other models.

KiaAEB is currently optional on all models except the 2017 Rio subcompact car. AEB will be optional on all 2018 models.
Maserati

Maserati didn’t respond to CR’s request for comment. According to CR research, AEB is optional on both models for sale in the U.S.

Mazda

Mazda recently announced that low-speed AEB would be standard on all 2018 models, with the exception of the MX-5 Miata.

Mercedes

High-speed AEB comes standard across Mercedes’ fleet, with the exception of the G-Class SUVs.

Mitsubishi

AEB does not come standard on any vehicle sold in the U.S. Low-speed AEB is an optional feature on one model. Mitsubishi says AEB will be made available as an option on three additional models for the 2018 model year.

NissanNissan said that AEB will come standard on 1 million vehicles sold in the U.S. for the 2018 model year, including seven of the company’s most popular models.
PorschePorsche declined CR’s request for comment on plans for the coming years. AEB is optional for all 2017 models for sale in the U.S., according to CR research.
Subaru

Subaru has not made AEB standard on any models and did not report any upcoming changes for the 2018 model year. Subaru offers AEB as an option on six of its seven U.S. models, according to CR research.

Tesla

As of Sept. 10, 2017, Tesla reports that some models with its most recent safety hardware package do not have an active automatic emergency braking system; the company says it expects to reinstate the system to those models by the end of October 2017.

Toyota

AEB will come standard on almost every Lexus and Toyota model by the end of 2017.

Volkswagen

AEB will not come standard on any 2018 VW models. For 2017, VW offers low-speed AEB standard on two U.S. models, the Passat sedan and the Touareg SUV. It’s optional on every other model except the Beetle.
Volvo CarsMost 2014-2016 Volvo models have standard low-speed AEB systems. Some 2017 models (XC90 SUV, S90 sedan, V90 wagon) and 2018 models (all the 2017s plus the XC60 SUV) get high-speed AEB standard.

In addition to this report on long-term plans for AEB, Consumer Reports published this detailed list of crash-avoidance features available on all U.S. models.