Safety technology in motor vehicles has evolved greatly since the first car came off the production line in 1908.
As new technology is developed we have seen the bar raised in terms of the safety standard for new cars.
This is monitored by independent auto watchdog organisations such as the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), which provides a star rating for cars based on the results of rigorous safety testing.
Making the grade for new cars
In Australia, for a new car to get an ANCAP rating of five stars, it needs to have performed at the utmost level across criteria such as the frontal offset, side impact, whiplash and pole test. This proves that it can protect the driver and passengers in the case of a collision, and signals a good chance of survival.
In spite of consumers being able to make an informed decision on the safety of their new vehicle, the fact remains that human error is still a contributing factor to 90 per cent of all crashes, as reported by ANCAP.
The organisation states that while safety features have historically focussed on passive or reactive measures, the future of car safety hinges on the use of active safety features which can sense and predict potential hazards, helping to prevent them.
In New South Wales alone, the road toll for the period from January 1 to August 12 has surpassed 200, which begs the question: What more could be done to lessen the fatalities on Australian roads?
Automation the future of safety
A joint campaign by ANCAP and the Australian Medical Association is aiming to address road casualties through the standardisation of active safety technology such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
An AEB system utilises radars, lasers and cameras to detect potential oncoming collisions with hazards such as pedestrians or other road users. In the case of a potential crash, a car with AEB technology can either alert the driver or, in critical situations, deploy the brakes automatically, according to the Transport and Accident Commission.
“Vehicle technologies such as AEB can help lead the way in reducing road trauma at an unprecedented rate,” said President of the AMA Professor Brian Owler.
“It involves using clever technology that already exists – technology that is already a standard feature in new cars sold overseas.”
A new standard for safety
Together, ANCAP and the AMA are asking the government to help make it so that all new cars sold in Australia come fitted with AEB.
“While the number of people killed on Australia’s roads is declining, road crashes are still unnecessarily killing around 1,200 people every year. Technology like AEB will go a long way towards reducing the number of fatalities,” said CEO of ANCAP, Nicholas Clarke.
With AEB systems shown to reduce rear-end crashes by over 38 per cent, ANCAP states that the implementation of the technology could be “as effective as seatbelts in saving lives.”
“Prevention is far better than the cure,” said Professor Owler. “If we avoid the crash, we avoid the trauma.”
Perhaps the presence of safety features such as AEB in cars could be used as a factor in determining ctp green slip prices.