Self-Braking Cars Could Greatly Reduce Collisions

Driverless vehicles? Stop right there: a study by researchers from Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) indicates widespread use of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) could reduce the frequency of rear-end crashes by 38 percent.

Since numbers don't lie and insurance companies don't like claims, you can expect AEB to join antilock brakes, parking-assist systems and blind-spot cameras in the car of tomorrow. Safety sells... though some might say at the expense of driver enjoyment. Don't blame the technology; it's the bad apples among the driving population who are driving the revolution in autonomous motoring.

AEB systems employ radar, laser, and/or video technology to monitor the space in front of a moving vehicle. Should any solid object enter that space, the system will instantly and automatically apply the brakes. It's eminently conceivable AEB will work with antilock brakes to ensure sudden stops are controlled stops.

Euro NCAP and similar bodies have been pushing for the use of AEB systems for some time – the technology is proven and ready. Now that the recent study conducted by Euro NCAP in conjunction with Australian safety organization ANCAP have shown how effective AEB can be in reducing accidents, we can expect that pressure to gain new momentum.

“These findings strongly support our decision to make AEB technology a key discriminator in the safety rating of new vehicles,” states Dr Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP. “We will continue to monitor the effectiveness in reducing real world crashes of the advanced systems that are promoted in order to validate and improve the overall star rating.”

Fear not, freedom-loving drivers, there's a silver lining to what seems on first impression to be a dark cloud: your emasculating self-driving car will at least incorporate self-stopping technology, leaving you free to perform activities currently not recommended for drivers such as texting, drinking and sleeping. (via Ars Technica UK)