Safety standards in the UK and Europe risk falling behind the rest of the world if safety systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) are not made standard equipment.
That's according to automotive industry analyst Thatcham Research, which has joined a call for AEB to become standard equipment on all new cars sold in Europe.
The European Transport Safety Council made a formal recommendation in a report this week that AEB was fitted as standard on all new cars and light commercial vehicles.
AEB is regarded as one of a new generation of life-saving safety technologies, and works by using cameras and radar systems to detect if a collision is unavoidable, applying the car's brakes autonomously. The very best AEB systems can detect cyclists and pedestrians as well as other cars.
Earlier this year, a group of 20 vehicle manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover signed a pact to offer AEB as standard in the US by 2022.
Thatcham says that while legislation could be used to enforce the adoption of AEB in Europe, it would be far better if a similar voluntary pact were made here. The company's chief executive Peter Shaw said "Europe risks falling behind. Unless we have a similar agreement amongst European vehicle manufacturers, legislation is the only way to go."
Vehicles fitted with AEB can reduce the liklihood of front-end collisions by as much as 40%, and have the potential to save over 1100 lives and over 125,000 casualties over the next decade.
However, Thatcham's research shows that only 2% of vehicles in the UK have AEB fitted as standard, and although that figure is growing, only 17% of new cars have the technology fitted as part of their standard equipment.
Manufacturers which offer AEB in the UK include Volvo, Mazda, Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen and Jaguar Land Rover.
"If AEB as standard on all vehicles is going to become a reality in Europe, it is going to require collaboration between regulators and everyone in the automotive industry," said Shaw.
Research has also shown that drivers of cars fitted with AEB also benefit from reduced insurance premiums.
Read What Car?'s full guide to AEB and how it works here.