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Safety Standard: Ford to Include Auto Braking, Other Tech Lineup-Wide

2019 Ford Edge ST

Ford will begin making a full suite of safety and driver assistance technology, including a front collision system with automatic emergency braking, standard on all of its new vehicles, starting this fall with the refreshed 2019 Ford Edge SUV. The move covers Ford cars and SUVs, as well as F-150 pickup trucks.

Related: For IIHS Safety Awards, Not All Cars Are Equal

The suite bundles a range of current assistance tech into a single package, which Ford has branded Ford Co-Pilot360 and will make standard. The bundle includes automatic braking with pedestrian detection, as well as a blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, a backup camera, a driver attention alert, and a lane-keep assist that provides a warning and a steering nudge when the vehicle begins to drift out of the lane.

It also includes automatic high beams, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety credits with enabling increased use of high beams for safety. Ford says that in 2019, it will add rear automatic emergency braking to Ford Co-Pilot360 and plans to add further safety aids in the future. It says that 91 percent of its vehicles in North America will have a standard Co-Pilot360 safety package by 2020. Ford says it also will make a version of the system with automatic braking system optional for its heavier commercial trucks by 2020.

Ford's move comes as automakers move with varying speed to meet a voluntary agreement between the industry and federal safety regulators in 2016 to make the forward collision system with automatic emergency braking standard on all new cars, SUVs and light trucks by 2022, and heavier vehicles by 2025. It is considered the most important of the new technologies in its potential to increase safety. These systems are designed to automatically brake when an emergency is detected by the car's sensors. IIHS estimated at that time that the brake technology could cut rear-end crashes by 40 percent. And the National Transportation Safety Board reported that more than 80 percent of the 1,700 deaths and half-million injuries a year in rear-end collisions could be avoided or mitigated if all vehicles had automatic emergency braking systems.

Ford follows Toyota, which moved quickly and has a version of its Safety Sense safety-tech package with auto emergency braking standard on all but five lower-volume Toyota and Lexus models for 2018. Among other examples, Nissan has auto emergency braking standard on eight of its highest-volume 2018 models. And Honda has widened availability by making its Honda Sensing package with auto braking systems at least optional, if not standard, on almost all of its models and trim levels. Still, it will be many years before most vehicles on U.S. roads are equipped with the technology.

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