Fully self-driving vehicles are still many years away but already, we're starting to see some autonomous driving features creep into modern vehicles in the name of convenience and / or safety.

It's a trend that's only going to accelerate moving forward as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on Thursday said 20 automakers – representing nearly the entire US auto market – have agreed to make automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on cars and light-duty trucks by September 1, 2022.

Trucks with gross weights between 8,501 and 10,000 pounds are expected to be equipped with AEB systems three years later in 2025.

As the name suggests, AEB systems are designed to slow or stop a vehicle if it detects a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian or other object is imminent.

AEB systems are already utilized on several modern vehicles. As The Verge correctly points out, the feature first started showing up on high-end luxury vehicles more than a decade ago. As the technology became more refined and cheaper to implement over the years, we've seen it make its way into mainstream markets from a variety of automakers.

It's worth clarifying the fact that this is simply an agreement with automakers, not a rule or law. According to the NHTSA, going the route of an agreement will see the feature rolled out up to three years sooner versus a trip down the regulatory road.