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Car Safety Ratings Expand To Include New Technologies

On Friday, August 28th, 2015

If you’ve been following AutoLoud for a while, you know that we’ve been covering new car technology. We love discussing the new gadgets that power the motoring world. You’ll know that Google are building a self-driving car, and that Jaguar are developing an augmented reality windscreen. You’ll also know that wireless car charging is now a very real thing. But, some of the biggest leaps in car technology can be found in the safety category. New cars are now safer and more secure than ever. With intelligent drive systems, autonomous braking, and assisted steering, your car actively helps you avoid crashes.

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Of course, this new technology means that the safety ratings must be altered accordingly. A car that received a five-star rating ten years ago, is now surpassed with incredible new technology. Safety rating teams can’t keep adding new stars! So, they’ve introduced new categories, and altered the factors that contribute to their rating system. The result is a more up-to-date version of the safety ratings.

The most important  factor is the introduction of the ‘driving assist’ category. This exists to rate how well the car actively helps avoid crashes. Within this category, they take into account new technology like stability control and traction control. If you’re not aware of these technologies, they work like this. When a crash scenario presents itself, the car will automatically apply small amounts of braking to each wheel. The car is actively keeping the car stable while you steer to avoid the collision. It gives the driver more control. This category also takes into account autonomous steering assistance. Some cars, like the new Mercedes E-Class, react to collision scenarios faster than the driver! It starts steering away from danger immediately.

Secondly, there have been significant improvements in the realm of driver and passenger safety. Airbags are now much more efficient and effective. The best cars now surround their drivers and passengers with sensitive airbags. Even seatbelt technology has improved. The pretensioners are now much more sophisticated, holding the body in place with more security. We recently spoke to the expert personal injury lawyers at AEE Law about this. They told us that improved seat belt technology is helping reduce the number of whiplash claims. Whiplash is the single most common driving injury, so it’s a clear sign that technology is proving useful.

Lastly, the safety ratings have expanded to include pedestrian safety. This is a category that didn’t even exist five years ago, simply because it wasn’t a consideration for vehicle manufacturers. Nowadays, extra precautions are being taken to protect pedestrians in crash scenarios. Some modern vehicles even have pedestrian airbags to soften the impact. Other have 360 degrees pedestrian detection cameras. The car will actively stop and avoid pedestrians when reversing or manoeuvring. It’s this sort of technology that takes modern car further than ever before in terms of safety. Not only are cars designed to protect their drivers, but they’re built to protect everyone else too.

We’re on the brink of a big new shift in car technology, but particularly in the safety category. The next generation of cars will all talk to each, and send signals back and forth. The idea is that no collisions will occur because the cars all know where each other are.

Fascinating stuff, we’re sure you’ll agree.

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