Euro NCAP, the European car safety organisation, is to insist that, from 2014 onwards, all vehicles seeking its approval must be able to hit the anchors without driver intervention.
From that date, so-called Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) technology will be required by any car seeking a New Car Assessment Programme rating.
That means they effectively all will, since no one's going to buy a new car that lacks an NCAP rating.
Euro NCAP has included AEB in its optional Advanced test, but mandating the technology follows the outcome of an investigation carried out by Euro NCAP into the system's safety benefits.
The results of that survey, published back in June, revealed that a car's ability to sense a fast-falling distance to the vehicle in front and apply the brakes if the driver hasn't - or isn't pushing the pedal hard enough - can reduce the number of accidents on Europe's roads by 27 per cent.
A number of car makers offer AEB as an optional extra - Ford with the new Focus, for instance - but many don't even do that, and it's certainly not standard.
It should be, Euro NCAP said, adding that it "hopes that European authorities will soon require AEB as mandatory on all new vehicle types". ®