Driving is so much unbelievably safer than it used to be. Cars themselves are safer cocoons because of an amazing array of airbags, greater seatbelt use, collapsible steering wheels, protective panels in the doors and many other features. In addition, road conditions have improved with better freeway design, better guardrail design, the design of entrance and exit ramps and so on.
But what if you could avoid an accident altogether? Eight automakers have formed a consortium to work on a radar system that will allow cars to communicate with each other and hopefully avoid collisions. GM, Toyota, Ford and VW are among some of the players involved, according to The Detroit News.
The radar system they’re working on will warn you when you’re getting too close to another vehicle, much like collision avoidance radar in airplanes. Now we’re really close to having this idea in automobiles.
It means that in time, cars will be able to protect you by taking over steering before you even have time to react.
Think about the adaptive cruise control that’s already available in high-end cars. If you’re accelerating at a dangerous speed, it senses that the distance between your car and the car ahead of you is too tight and automatically backs your car off. This will save huge numbers of lives by preventing accidents from ever occurring.
As soon as it’s clear when more robust “smart” car features will be available, I’ll give you an update and let you know that.
Note: This article originallyt aired February 2011