In 2016, it seems that some of the largest automakers in the U.S. all share the same new year's resolution: to speed up the implementation of their advanced safety systems.
Ten automakers — Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo — have all indicated their desire to make systems such as collision warning and automatic braking standard on all of their vehicles within the next several model years. Previously, these features were largely reserved for luxury models, but technological improvements and better cost efficiencies will soon make it possible for them to be much more widespread.
All together, these ten automakers account for more than half of all light-duty vehicles sold in the United States. That there are all pursuing this goal suggests that this is an attempt to stave off additional federal safety regulations in the future.
The benefits of automated safety systems in passenger vehicles speak for themselves. One study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Virginia concluded that autobraking can reduce insurance claims for car accident injuries by about 35 percent. The vast majority of accidents are the result of driver error, and a reliable, automated system that can take over in a difficult situation can save lives.
In the years ahead, we should expect to see more vehicles on the market that have the ability to automatically detect obstacles and slow down and avoid collisions without driver input. This technology will place a greater demand on brake performance, requiring more stringent testing to ensure the highest quality components.