Crash Avoidance Technology (CAT) is becoming commonplace. Uber, Google, and Tesla, not particularly known for their auto manufacturing, are making strides in autonomous vehicle technology, and both IIHS and NHTSA are working CAT features into their testing and evaluations. The vast majority of manufacturers in the U.S. are now making CAT technology optional in their 2015 lines. BMW, for instance, has provided optional forward collision warning, auto-brake, lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, and blind spot detection in almost every 2015 vehicle. And costs are not necessarily prohibitive. BMW’s “Driver Assistance Plus” package, which includes speed limit information displayed on the dash, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support and automatic emergency braking, can be added on to many of its 2015 vehicles for as little as $700.
This article will highlight recent developments in the automotive industry regarding adoption and advancement of CAT technology. Its purpose is to provide not only an update on where CAT technology is today, but also some insight into the future of the auto industry.
Forward Collision Prevention as the Hallmark of New Vehicle Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has created a new program for evaluating the performance of front crash prevention systems to raise consumer awareness of safety options and encourage auto manufacturers to adopt and continue developing this technology. By way of background, front crash prevention systems generally include one or more of the following features:
- Forward Collision Warning – The most passive of the front crash avoidance technology. This system utilizes camera, radar, and/or laser equipment for object recognition and speed detection, to determine whether the relative speed between a vehicle and object in the road presents a risk of impending collision. The driver may receive a visual, audio, or haptic warning, signaling the need to apply the brakes.
- Dynamic Brake Support – A hybrid of passive and active front crash avoidance technology. This system pre-conditions the brakes automatically when a collision is detected, so that when the driver applies the brakes even slightly, the full braking power is applied to shorten the vehicle’s stopping distance.
- Automatic Emergency Braking – The most active of the front crash avoidance technology. When a critical situation is detected, the vehicle’s brakes are automatically engaged with full braking potential to either completely prevent a front collision, or at least slow the vehicle down and mitigate the severity of the collision.