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Mandating New Safety Technology Could Save $900 Bil

Active safety innovations could save 33,000 lives annually, report claims.

by on Sep.30, 2015

A full conversion to autonomous driving technology could eliminate 90% of traffic fatalities, according to a new report.

New active safety technologies could reduce road accidents in the United States by more than one third, saving thousands of lives and billions in societal costs for medical care, vehicle repairs and lost productivity, according to a new study released this week by the Boston Consulting Group.

The study said available systems like automatic braking and lane control assistance technology could reduce the number of accidents by 28%. In addition, wider use of the new technologies could pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles and lead to a 90% reduction in fatal accidents over time.

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“Because the vast majority of crashes in the United States are caused by driver error, the lack of adoption of these technologies within the vehicle fleet in the United States is a significant missed opportunity,” said BCG’s Xavier Mosquet, who co-authored the report funded by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. (more…)

NHTSA Says Traffic Fatalities on the Rise in 2015

More miles logged offsetting improved safety equipment.

by on Sep.01, 2015

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said he won't let up on automakers in a push for safety.

New vehicles in the U.S. are the safest vehicles ever built, but the country’s highways are seeing the highest fatality rates in nearly a decade and that has safety officials scrambling to figure out what to do about it.

Despite more cars and trucks than ever being equipped with collision prevention equipment and vehicles designed to crash in ways to better protect vehicle occupants, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced U.S. traffic deaths jumped 9.5% to an estimated 7,500 during the first quarter of 2015.

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Part of the increase is being blamed on the fact that due to an improved economy spurred by low gas prices, Americans are driving more. Miles logged are up 3.9% during the same period, but that doesn’t account for everything, according to safety experts. (more…)

NTSB Pushing to Make Collision Avoidance Standard

Agency says technology shouldn’t be an added cost.

by on Jun.09, 2015

NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart called for collision avoidance technology to be standard equipment on all new vehicles.

Federal officials are recommending – again – that collision avoidance systems be made standard equipment on all new vehicles: free of charge.

“You don’t pay extra for your seat belt, and you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether,” said Christopher Hart, chairman, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

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The agency released a 60-page report outlining the need for the technology, suggesting that more than 80% of the 1,700 deaths and 500,000 injuries in the 1.7 million rear-end collisions in 2012 could have been eliminated or lessened if the technology were mandated. (more…)

New Vehicle Designs Make Zero Highway Deaths a Real Possibility

Nine models reach that goal, finds new study.

by on Jan.29, 2015

The 2011 Honda Odyssey was one of nine models to experience no fatalities during the study period.

(This story has been updated to include the list of the nine safest vehicles, and additional comments by IIHS.)

The highway death toll has been plunging rapidly in recent years, and safety experts are crediting a number of factors, including improved roadways and a crackdown on drunk driving. But a new study puts the spotlight on vehicle design and improved technology for both preventing crashes and keeping motorists alive when they do occur.

A record total of nine models sold during the 2011 model-year have had a death rate of zero, meaning no one was killed in a crash involving those vehicles during the period studied by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Significantly, these are not ultra-exotic products. They include mainstream models like the Honda Odyssey minivan and Subaru Legacy sedan, as well as the big Mercedes-Benz GL SUV. (See the complete list, below.)

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“We know from our vehicle ratings program that crash test performance has been getting steadily better. These latest death rates provide new confirmation that real-world outcomes are improving, too,” said IIHS vice president and chief research officer David Zuby.

(more…)

Makers Counting on Tech Sector to Help Make Safer, More Interactive Cars

Connected car technology continues improvement.

by on Nov.19, 2014

Wolfgang Epple, director of Research and Technology at Jaguar Land Rover, shows how the company's new technology displays and implements apps.

New technology that is being refined continuously now has the potential to make driving safer and more fun, while bringing the automobile business closer to the ever-blooming consumer electronics industry, executives from Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and Audi said during the “Connected Car” expo that opened ahead of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

As evidence of that growing relationship, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is opening its $3 million Open Software Technology Center. The facility will focus on the development and application of advanced connected technologies and help lead the development of future Jaguar and Land Rover infotainment systems, according to Wolfgang Epple, director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover

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The new technical center, the only JLR research center outside Great Britain, was located on the West Coast to development infotainment systems for all Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. (more…)

Latest in Driver Safety Technology Coming to Detroit

Makers, suppliers and tech companies demonstrating latest wares.

by on Sep.05, 2014

Collision avoidance systems improve safety for individual vehicles, and will be just one form of safety technology on display in Detroit next week.

Toyota’s announcement yesterday of its goal of zero highway deaths related to its vehicles was one of several made by automakers recently about new safety technology coming to vehicles, which makes the timing of the 21st Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit next week perfect.

Major carmakers, suppliers and other technology companies will display some of the latest technical advances that promise to curb deaths, injuries and traffic jams.

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With growing interest in driver assistance system, automated driving and intelligent highways that can make roads safer not only for motorists but also for pedestrians and bicyclists and wider use of smart technology linked to wireless systems. (more…)

Subaru Models to Get “EyeSight”

Low-cost stereo camera system adds range of safety features.

by on Mar.19, 2012

Subaru's EyeSight system uses a pair of forward-looking cameras to add a variety of safety features.

Think of it as the “democratization of technology.”  Hi-tech systems routinely make their debut on luxury models and, if they prove popular, usually migrate down-market – often with mainstream manufacturers coming up with more inexpensive, but equally effective, alternatives.

So it goes with EyeSight, a camera based system that Subaru will be bringing to the States later this year.  The system uses a pair of cameras mounted on either side of the rearview mirror to look out on the road ahead.  It’s a lower-cost alternative, the maker claims, than the radar-based safety systems currently in use by luxury makers such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

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EyeSight’s stereoscopic cameras can spot obstacles – such as a pedestrian – and bring the vehicle to a complete stop from speeds up to 19 mph.  That’s similar to the CitySafety system first introduced by Volvo a few years back.

At speeds over 19 mph, the Subaru version of Pre-Collision Braking can still slow the vehicle down – often times giving the driver enough time to avoid an accident and otherwise reducing injuries and damage.

The EyeSight system adds Lane Departure warning, alerting a distracted or drowsy motorist who might inadvertently drift out of their lane without signaling.

And the new Subaru system also offers adaptive cruise control, which can adjust a vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the traffic ahead at speeds of up to 87 mph.

Subaru claims EyeSight unblinkingly watches a broader swatch of the road ahead than current radar-based systems.

There are several down sides to vision-based technologies, however.  They need a clean windshield, which means they may not operate properly if the glass is iced up on a cold winter morning.  And they are sensitive to fog, which can reduce their effectiveness, as well.

How much cheaper the EyeSight system will be remains to be seen, but expect to find out next month, Subaru promising to reveal all during the 2012 New York Auto Show.  The first cars to get the new technology will be the 2013 Legacy and Outback, though Subaru hints EyeSight will control the trickling down of technology to its lower-priced models in the future.