Automakers are constantly working to make their vehicles safer than ever before, and while much of that effort is spent in areas the public will never see, recent years have welcomed a rash of more highly visible advancements. Those include autonomous-emergency braking (AEB) systems like Volvo City Safety and Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe Braking, as well as lane departure warnings and adaptive headlights. While most of these systems still function largely as optional equipment on luxury vehicles, there's a growing push to see some of them go mainstream. The European Commission and Euro NCAP have indicated AEB technology will be a part of European crash evaluations beginning in 2014.

According to The Telegraph, studies suggest the move could save as many as 8,000 lives per year by reducing accidents by up to 27 percent while saving more than $6.12 billion. Given the push for ever more interchangeable global products, it seems unavoidable for U.S. crash evaluation bodies to follow suit. Russ Rader, a spokesperson with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, tells Autoblog his organization has already commenced research on that front.

"The IIHS is looking at a number of crash avoidance technologies to determine how effective they are in real world driving," Rader said.

IIHS has compiled significant insurance data for crashes involving vehicles both with and without ABE systems.

"Based on the evidence of the effectiveness of auto-brake systems, we expect them to be added to our evaluations in the future."

When is that, exactly? Rader isn't certain, though when it happens, the difference between having AEB and not will likely differentiate between which models go home with a Top Safety Pick designation and which do not.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was not immediately available for comment as to whether or not the government agency is considering a similar move for its crash worthiness evaluations.

IIHS has also seen evidence indicating adaptive headlight systems greatly reduce the risk of crashes as well, which means the lighting may also play a part in crash evaluations moving forward.

Despite the substantial human and trickle-down monetary benefits, additional lighting and AEB systems remain expensive and not widely available. The Telegraph found AEB to be available on just 22 percent of vehicles on sale in Europe right now.


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  • 42 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Essende
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SonataGuy1, if you really think that insurance rates will drop, please pass me the bong. If anything, insurance companies will just make more profit, that's what this is all about. Its not to save you or me money, it's for them to make more money out of us. Anyway, if people don't like to drive, take a bus or something, cars/car enthusiasts as we know it are coming to an end. We have cars for over 100 years where most of the input/decisions are done by the driver, not some auto pilot driver nannies. I am all for technology but in this case I don't like it one bit, and its just a first step before they will mandate totally autonomous vehicles.
        MyerShift
        • 2 Years Ago
        Insurance costs will not go down because it's too profitable.
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        What you describe sounds like the insurance industry's worst nightmare. Plus you have far too much faith in your fellow man.
      mitchell
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds like a wonderful idea for saving the lives of really dumb distracted drivers." However living in the Midwest where it snows sometime white-out storms during our winter months...it's not going too work very well. either your smart brakes will throw you into a skid or your smart brakes will not let you move."
      mapoftazifosho
      • 2 Years Ago
      To all the short-sighted "enthusiasts" that are about to cry foul...you're not an amazing race car driver everyday in traffic. This will save money and lives...let it go.
        MyerShift
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        No. enough is enough. What needs to be done is educate moronic drivers. Force everyone to retest vigorously. Adding electronic devices doesn't make up for stupid!
        samagon0
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        Not really, things like this encourage people who don't pay attention to pay even less attention to the job they agreed to do when they signed up for a drivers license.
      kyle
      • 2 Years Ago
      no way in hell am i paying an extra premium for technonanny crap i don't need. looks like i'll eventually be shopping for used cars.
        British_Rover
        • 2 Years Ago
        @kyle
        Two vehicles that come standard with all the crap that you say you don't want, the Volvo S60 and XC60, can both be had for under $30,000 new in Front wheel drive form. That is less then 30k USD for a car with Low speed (less then 22 mph) collision avoidance, standard SAT radio, Bluetooth, iPod connector, eight to ten airbags depending on how you measure it plus a tone more safety equipment. The average price of a new car right now is in the upper 20k range for last year and passed 30k this year. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/04/11/average-price-of-new-cars-hits-all-time-record/ Adjusted for inflation cars, at least premium to low level lux cars, are super cheap right now. I have purchase orders and contracts from Volvos sold in the early to mid 90s that were in the same 30,000 dollar price range.
        mapoftazifosho
        • 2 Years Ago
        @kyle
        Like you were ever buying new...
          kyle
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          like you're not 16 and living with your parents. i actually bought my car in 2010 when it was new.
        kyle
        • 2 Years Ago
        @kyle
        oh and here's an idea to make cars safer without jacking up MSRP. CUT OUT THE INFOCRAPTAINMENT AND OTHER TECHNOCRAP BULL$HIT CURRENTLY PLAGUING MANY CARS. not only will that reduce distracted driving, but it will make cars cheaper all around. do you think accessing facebook/twitter/email while driving is safe in the first place? the NHTSA needs to get their heads out from up their asses.
      IVAN
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great just what we need...More technology to take the driving of a vehicle away from the driver. As if they don't already ignore the responsibility's already. Forget about auto braking, focus on a anti tailgating system. This would eliminate the need for the "Emergency Braking" in the first place...!
        Jovanavichs
        • 2 Years Ago
        @IVAN
        They have that technology. Laser guided Cruise Control. It will disengage the cruise control if you get too close to another vehicle. Once theres enough space, it re-engages.
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can't wait till the day that "common sense" is implemented in all cars.
        samagon0
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        I used to loath autonomous vehicles, at this time I actually can't wait for them to come. I'd be happy to commute to work at the push of a button so I can watch movies, read books, surf the web, or whatever. I'll be first in line, but until that day comes, making it so drivers can pay even less attention is not the answer. All or nothing please.
        IVAN
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        The longer we wait for that, the less there seems to be.
      doejoe7hiya
      • 2 Years Ago
      Crash avoidance is HUGE! If a good system was created just think how it would impact cars as we know them today...lighter materials, fewer but better safety equipment, better mpg, new / different styling, better handling, better acceleration, easier on the wallet from gas to repairs and maintenance!
        brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @doejoe7hiya
        None of that technology will do a bit of good when your car is parked on the street and some dufus in a Mega-Denali backs into it... ...nor will it help you one bit when that deer suddenly jumps in front of your car.
      Bret Frohwein
      • 2 Years Ago
      All this stuff is fine and dandy until suddenly you realize.. you're paying nearly 30 grand for a basic daily driver..
        mapoftazifosho
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bret Frohwein
        Trickle down economics son...a $15k Chevy Sonic has 10 flippin airbags, ABS and all sorts of stuff unheard of on cars of that size of 10 years ago for about the same price...
      zapdog4
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you need your car to do the driving for you, maybe you shouldnt be driving. Who will assume the liabilities when these systems fail?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @zapdog4
        [blocked]
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Those include autonomous-emergency braking (AEB) systems like Volvo City Safety and Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe Braking, as well as lane departure warnings and adaptive headlights." >auto braking No. >lane departure warning No. >adaptive headlights Yes. Stop this nanny state bullcrap.
      Walt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh sounds like it will save lives and reduce accidents, meaning I should see a reduction in my auto insurance any day now. I won't hold my breath.
      KyleR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Or, you know, just learn to pay attention when you drive. I mean, first thing they taught me in Driver's Ed was to keep my eyes on the road. Seriously people, put the cell phone, stop playing with your infotainment bs, applying makeup, eating, etc. and you would definitely see a decrease in accidents. A safe following distance wouldn't hurt either. It's always nice to not have somebody riding my rear for three miles so they can get two car lengths ahead on the freeway and save an astonishingly long 4 seconds on their commute. But of course, as with any technological advancement, if you can make something easier/less work for people (read: let them be lazier), it will sell in masses. Autonomous cars are the future, and Google is going to make a killing off of the technology. It'll be a sad day, really. Sigh. End rant.
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