The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted the first-ever tests of crash avoidance systems; mechanisms that are touted for their ability to help drivers avoid objects (and other vehicles) that they may not initially see. Essentially, these systems incorporate lasers and on-board radar to measure the speed and distance of nearby objects and alert the driver to hazards that may lie ahead.
Crash avoidance systems are the next step in the evolution of auto safety systems. (A previous evolution was made to increase a car's crashworthiness). With that, crash avoidance systems are being featured on models from high-end automakers such as Cadillac, Infiniti, and Mercedes-Benz.
IIHS researchers tested the systems on a closed course and drove vehicles towards a vinyl and foam target (used to simulate the back of a vehicle) and measured how the avoidance systems performed at different speeds (12 mph and 25 mph).
While they found the technology itself to be innovative, they found that automakers still have work to do. Of all the vehicles tested, only three received favorable marks: Cadillac, Subaru and Volvo. These vehicles performed well at both speeds. Two other automakers, Infiniti and Toyota, tested very poorly. Researchers also noted that while these systems would add thousands of dollars to the cost of a car, it would be well worth the investment considering the costs of injuries and property damage that can be avoided.
Even with this technology, however, drivers in Texas have a legal duty to use reasonable care in operating their motor vehicles.
Source: LA Times.com, Subarus Cadillacs and Volvos top new crash avoidance test, September 27, 2013