GM’s auto emergency braking feature is now standard on its latest EVs

It’s one of five features the automaker says will now be standard in all its electric vehicles.

Roberto Baldwin / Engadget

GM announced today that it’s making five active safety features standard on all its 2023 and newer EVs. In addition, the automaker says it will surpass its commitment to add Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) to 95 percent of its vehicles; the feature is included in 98 percent of GM’s 2023 models — including all its EVs. The disclosure follows the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stating today that all new passenger cars and light trucks will be required to include AEB within three years.

In addition to AEB, GM says four other safety features will be standard in most of its 2023 model-year vehicles. These include Forward Collision Alert (warns you if a front-facing crash is likely), Front Pedestrian Braking (alerts you to oncoming pedestrians, automatically braking if needed), Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning (lets you know if you’re drifting out of your lane) and IntelliBeam (automatic high-beam headlight controls). “As we look ahead toward a future vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, these technologies are significant building blocks with proven benefits for reducing common crashes,” said John Capp, GM’s director of Vehicle Safety Technology, Strategy and Regulations.

The automaker touts its adherence to safety research data to inform the decision, citing a 2023 study at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) that showed AEB combined with Forward Collision Alert reduced rear-end crashes by 42 percent. The same research found that Front Pedestrian Braking cut head-on pedestrian collisions by 23 percent, while Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning lowered roadway departure accidents (crashes stemming from a car veering off-road or into other lanes) by 15 percent. Finally, the automaker sourced a separate 2022 UMTRI study demonstrating that IntelliBeam cut nighttime crashes involving pedestrians, bicyclists and animals by 22 percent.

GM is also upgrading the front sensors in the Cadillac Lyriq, 2023 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. The enhanced sensors, with a wider field of vision, extend AEB operation to speeds of up to 80 mph while adding Bicyclist Automatic Emergency Braking to Front Pedestrian Braking — a welcome feature in cities with cyclists zipping in and out of traffic. In addition, the sensors enable smoother Lane Keep Assist engagement and Blind Zone Steering Assist (a short / sharp turn to avoid lane-change crashes). The automaker says the upgraded sensors and corresponding features will expand to other models in coming years.

The company emphasized that its safety features aren’t only for the wealthy and will also cover some of its cheapest gas-powered vehicles. For example, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax ($21,495 and up) will include all five of the safety features now standard in its more expensive EVs. “With this commitment, customers across all price points and trim levels will benefit from this set of proven safety technologies,” the company said.