Could Technology Keep Our Roads and Highways Collision-Free?

In the coming months, dealership showrooms will be welcoming new and innovative models that can be equipped with advanced technologies that could save lives. These new safety technologies will take control of a vehicle in certain situations. This technology has mainly been confined to high-end, optioned-up premium and luxury vehicles and will now be more available to the average consumer.

The 2015 Toyota Camry, for example, will be available with adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance systems that can brake to stop or slow the car if a crash is imminent, technologies now offered primarily on Lexus models. By 2017, Toyota plans to make those and other near-autonomous technologies available across its namesake brand.

Other automakers are moving in the same direction. Ford’s 2015 Edge crossover will have a technology package that includes more than a dozen sensors around the car: cameras, radar, ultrasonic.

Then, in the following two to three years, those kinds of technologies will become more capable and likely fall in price. In that time frame, General Motors plans to launch a Cadillac with its Super Cruise system, which can take control of steering, acceleration and braking in stop-and-go traffic or at higher speeds.

Not far behind: automated emergency braking, which will stop a car anytime it’s headed for a low- or moderate-speed frontal crash, whether or not the cruise control is engaged.

The emerging consensus among industry experts and executives gathered here for last week’s Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress was that by the time today’s adolescents start buying their first new cars, the term “fender bender” is going to be on its way to obsolescence.

“A collision-free society is within reach,” Frank Paluch, president of Honda’s U.S. r&d arm, said in a presentation at the ITS conference.

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