New Technology to Become Standard on Many Brands
Every so often we as a race discover a technology that just has to become an item or feature that is offered across the board. Who invented the little plastic thing at the end of shoelaces, how about the twist tie or plastic clip that holds our bread packages together, or even larger items such as a refrigerator/freezer or microwave oven? All of these inventions eventually become a regular item that we take for granted everyday but certainly make our lives a little easier to live (if you’ve ever had to lace a shoe with a lace missing those plastic end pieces you know exactly what I mean).
The automotive industry is really no different in its technology and advancements. How long ago did we start putting turbochargers on engines, how advanced have carburetors become over the years, when did we figure out that hybrid technology can really improve the power and performance and not just the fuel mileage, and when did we figure out how helpful a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking can actually be? Regardless of when it occurred, thankfully it has and we now have the next step in this technology to help us as consumers.
Over the past few years the cost of sensors and cameras have come down and we now have ten automakers that have made an agreement to begin offering this feature a standard fare on all of their vehicles that are sold in the US in the next several years. These ten are Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. With this agreement we will eventually have a bevy of cars that will have the equipment to slow or stop the vehicle when the system is activated by a possible collision.
Not only will these ten begin offering the system as standard (Volvo already does), but the NHTSA and IIHS will be testing and grading the system by each manufacturer as the systems become standard. This will challenge each manufacturer to make theirs the better offering and give us the equipment we need to be safer on the road and avoid a rear end collision. Right now these systems do vary in the equipment used and the actual performance of the system with some bringing the car to a complete stop and others only slowing it down.
This does not come without some questions or trepidations. Because the systems are different on almost each automaker the way these systems function and what causes them to be disrupted will be part of the test. Some use a camera while others a radar based sensor. Some are mounted at the top of the windshield and others are as far forward as inside the grill. Whether there becomes a standard for where the system is mounted will certainly be a discussion as the IIHS has already stated the grill mounted systems may raise insurance rates due to the cost to replace in case of a rear end collision.
One thing is for certain, thus far, unless the weather is a factor the Forward Collision Warning Systems with Automatic Emergency Braking work great. At times there have been reports of false alarms and the system slowing a car down around a turn, but when a vehicle, pedestrian, cyclist or animal has been detected this system has worked flawlessly on most vehicles, which certainly is why these ten will make this system standard on their vehicles.
In a world we live in where we rely on our smartphones for everything and so many ignoring the advice to not look at a phone while driving, the temptation sometimes overcomes us and causes us to end up in an accident that could be avoided. With this system in place the number of rear end collisions is expected to diminish greatly, helping to lower insurance costs across the board and avoid the hassle of an accident.