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Constantly evolving vehicle safety features: The race is on

In a recent blog post (please see our October 29 entry), we noted the hopes of auto manufacturers that autonomous vehicles — cars and trucks with accident-avoidance features that assist drivers and actually operate in many instances independently of them — would begin having a notably salutary effect on curbing car accidents and vehicle-related deaths within a few short years.

A year often mentioned for when such a material advancement can be realized is 2020, which is, obviously and in both figurative and literal terms, right down the road.

Much mention is made of Google and its driverless cars, with media accounts across the country, including in Ohio, tracking developments regarding engineers’ tweaking of safety systems that allow for a vehicle to independently swerve, brake, make optimal use of roadways and exits, and so forth.

One would fully expect that executives from major automobile manufacturers would hardly be standing by passively while Google’s safety scientists are tooling around roads in several states tweaking and enhancing their evolving technologies.

Indeed, they aren’t. In fact, the race is on to develop, incorporate and get new safety technologies to market as quickly as possible, with some insiders now noting that the 2020 reference might even be conservative.

Virtually all car makers are now steadily offering up new safety-improving technologies in their vehicles, ranging from anti-swerve and lane-drift alert systems to automatic braking and panoramic camera views.

What is especially a strong focus now is technology using sensors and transmitters installed on roadways that will, hopefully, one day allow vehicles to communicate precisely and in real time with each other and with the streets they are negotiating.

Toyota, which is busily testing such technology at a colossal driving center in Japan, says that real progress will be realized “soon.”

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Toyota tests care that communicate with each other,” Nov. 12, 2012