New safety vision for cars of the future

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IN THE same week that the seatbelt celebrated its 30th anniversary of being mandatory law, safety experts have predicted that cars will become completely crash-proof by the year 2020.

• Proposed safety features include ‘platooning’ - cars guided by lead vehicle driven by a professional driver, with a number of other cars electronically tethered and computer-controlled in the convoy

Volvo are exploring pioneering safety features

Volvo are exploring pioneering safety features

• Each vehicle measures distance, direction and speed of car in front, enabling it to adjust its own movements to remain in formation

• Google have already explored driverless cars but Volvo focusing on improved safety measures

Swedish firm Volvo - who pioneered the seatbelt - are already testing innovative technology that would see drivers warned of impending collisions before performing an automatic emergency stop and autopilot ‘convoy’ driving where cars would form a ‘motorway train’ in the hope of creating safer conditions.

Whilst driverless cars have been explored by Google, many of the proposed safety developments exist in some way or another - satellite navigation, self-parking systems and collision sensors to name a few.

However, around 60 per cent of drivers aren’t convinced by claims that the safety innovations mooted for the cars of the future would wipe out road traffic accidents entirely.

That said, a number would welcome certain developments to assist in driving, with 25 per cent saying they would be interested in a self-driving car, over half welcoming an auto-pilot function - i.e., not handing over total control to the on-board computer - 45 per cent keen on heightened pedestrian protection technology on all cars, and well over 50 per cent felt cameras fitted to vehicles would boost safety.

Despite that forward-gazing survey, only around a third of drivers would be happy to see increased speed limits on motorways to complement improved safety features.