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Crash avoidence technologies under the microscope

Crash avoidance technologies

Crash avoidance technologies

A division of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety – in the US – the Highway Loss Data Institute has just completed one of the first ever studies into the effectiveness of advanced crash avoidance technologies and their results were quite mixed to say the truth.

The problem isn’t the fact that some systems works and others don’t, it’s that some systems work and others actually cause more accidents than they prevent.

Collision avoidance systems and adaptive directional headlights were proven to both be effective in decreasing the number of car crashes, however those models equipped with lane departure warning systems have been found to be involved in more crashes than those without these systems.

Acura and Mercedez-Benz vehicles that were equipped with forward collision avoidance systems were found to have a fourteen percent lower number of properly damage liability claims (PDL) – these systems incorporate visual/audible pre-collision warnings as well as autonomous braking in case the driver fails to react.

Volvo’s autonomous breaking system on the other hand, while still reducing crashes by ten percent was considered to not be “statistically significant”.

Adaptive headlights have proven to be surprisingly effective, reducing the rate of PDL claims by ten percent for Acura, Mazda, Mercedes and Volvo vehicles. The idea behind adaptive headlights is that they allow drivers to see around corners better by varying their aim in accordance with the car’s speed, the direction of the steering wheel as well as other factors.

On the other hand however, the lane departure warning systems that are part of Buick and Mercedes-Benz vehicles appeared to actually have the opposite effect, but it should be noted that the increase in claim rates were not deemed statistically significant in order to be extremely clear about it. However this increase does suggest that the systems are not really effective in reducing crash rates.

The jury is still out both in this case as well as in regards to blind spot detection and park assist systems – which have also not shown any clear impact on crash patterns – however the finds have only been based on claim data collected between 2001 and 2011, as the number of such technologies increases in more vehicles, and the technologies themselves become better, it remains to be seen what will be the final conclusion in regards to these systems.

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