Crash avoidance technology has come a long way in recent years, and is now an important feature in modern cars. These systems are designed to help drivers avoid accidents or reduce the severity of a crash, and include a range of features such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection.
Today, we’re highlighting six different examples of crash avoidance technology (CAT) in use today that can help make drivers like you safer on the road.
1. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
One of the most important crash avoidance technologies is automatic emergency braking (AEB). This system uses sensors, cameras, and other technologies to detect when a collision is imminent and automatically applies the brakes to prevent or reduce the severity of the impact.
AEB has been shown to be highly effective at preventing accidents, and many automakers now include this technology as standard equipment in their vehicles.
Some AEB systems can detect and respond to a range of potential collision scenarios, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. These systems may also incorporate additional features such as forward collision warning, which alerts the driver with a warning sound or visual alert to indicate an imminent collision.
More advanced AEB systems can also detect potential collisions at higher speeds, such as when driving on the highway. These systems can detect and respond to situations such as lane changes and sudden stops by other vehicles.
In addition to the advanced detection capabilities, many AEB systems can also perform partial or full autonomous braking, which can reduce the severity of a collision or prevent it altogether. For example, some AEB systems can apply the brakes to one side of the vehicle to steer the car away from a collision or stop the car completely if necessary.
One of the key advancements in AEB technology is the ability to work in conjunction with other driver assistance systems, such as lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control, which will be discussed further in the sections below.
2. Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Another important feature you might find in your vehicle is lane departure warning (LDW), which uses cameras to detect when the vehicle is drifting out of its lane and alerts the driver with a warning, such as a visual or audible alert.
Some systems can even automatically steer the vehicle back into its lane, helping to prevent accidents caused by driver distraction or fatigue, making it an early step towards the self-driving technology that car companies are still trying to perfect.
LDW technology has increasingly become a standard feature in many new vehicles.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as of 2021, LDW is offered as standard equipment in 65% of 2021 model year vehicles sold in the United States, and is offered as an option in an additional 20% of vehicles.
This means that a total of 85% of new vehicles sold in the US as of 2021 are equipped with LDW technology.
3. Blind Spot Detection (BSD)
Blind spot detection (BSD) helps prevent accidents caused by drivers moving on the road without realizing that there is another vehicle in their blind spot. BSD uses sensors to detect when there is a vehicle in the driver's blind spot and alerts the driver with a visual or audio warning.
BSD can be particularly useful on highways and in heavy traffic, where vehicles are constantly changing lanes and passing each other. The technology can help drivers make safer and more confident lane changes, reducing the risk of collisions and improving overall safety.
One of the earliest implementations of BSD was in the 2007 Volvo S80, which featured a camera-based system that used images from side mirrors to detect other vehicles in the driver's blind spots. Today, BSD technology is widely available in many new vehicles, and is offered by a range of manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and many others.
Although BSD is one of the earlier examples of CAT on this list, it continues to play a vital role in making driving on the road safer today.
4. Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
Rear cross traffic alert (RCTA) is another useful crash avoidance feature, particularly when backing out of parking spaces.
The RCTA system typically consists of sensors mounted on the rear of the vehicle, which can detect other vehicles approaching from the sides. When a vehicle is detected, the system will alert the driver with a warning such as a beep, light, or icon on the dashboard.
Some RCTA systems also incorporate additional features, such as AEB, to provide more robust crash avoidance protection for drivers.
RCTA can be particularly useful in busy parking lots or areas with limited visibility, where other vehicles may be difficult to see when backing up.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as of 2021, RCTA is offered as standard equipment in 43% of 2021 model year vehicles sold in the US, and is offered as an option in an additional 17% of vehicles, which means that a total of 60% of new vehicles sold in the US come with RCTA technology.
5. Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is another important feature that can help prevent accidents caused by driver error or distraction. Unlike traditional cruise control, which maintains a fixed speed, ACC can automatically adjust the speed of the vehicle to match the speed of the vehicle ahead, and can even bring the vehicle to a complete stop in heavy traffic.
When a driver sets a desired speed and following distance, the ACC system will use sensors to monitor the distance to the vehicle ahead and adjust the speed of the vehicle accordingly.
If the vehicle ahead slows down, the ACC system will also slow down the vehicle to maintain a safe following distance. If the vehicle ahead comes to a complete stop, the ACC system can also bring the vehicle to a stop, and will resume moving when the vehicle ahead starts moving again.
ACC technology has been available in high-end luxury vehicles for several years, but is becoming increasingly common in mainstream vehicles as well. Some manufacturers are also offering more advanced versions of the technology, such as predictive ACC, which uses mapping data to anticipate changes in the road ahead and adjust the speed of the vehicle accordingly.
6. Electronic Stability Control (ESC (News - Alert))
Finally, electronic stability control (ESC) is a crucial technology that helps prevent accidents caused by skidding or loss of control. ESC uses sensors to detect when the vehicle is about to skid or lose control, and automatically applies the brakes to help the driver regain control of the vehicle.
ESC uses sensors to monitor various parameters, such as the steering angle, vehicle speed, and yaw rate, to determine if the vehicle is traveling in the direction that the driver intends.
If the system detects that the vehicle is not traveling in the intended direction, it will automatically apply the brakes to individual wheels to help bring the vehicle back on course. If the system detects that the vehicle is about to go into a skid or spin, it will apply the brakes and reduce engine power to help prevent the skid or spin from occurring.
ESC is particularly useful in preventing rollovers and helping drivers maintain control in slippery or uneven driving conditions. The technology was first introduced in the 1990s and has since become standard equipment on most new vehicles sold in the United States.
ESC has been shown to be highly effective at reducing the risk of crashes and injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ESC has been estimated to reduce the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes by 49 percent for passenger cars and 72 percent for SUVs.