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More than half of new cars in UK come with autonomous safety features

ABR Staff Writer Published 29 March 2016

Fully-functional self-driving vehicles may still take time to hit the roads but customers in the UK are buying cars with self-activating safety systems.


A recent study conducted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that more than half of new cars in the UK are now being equipped with self-activated autonomous safety features.

SMMT and JATO Dynamics data suggests that more than half of new cars sold and registered in 2015 were equipped with safety-enhancing collision warning systems, along with other technologies such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.

These are some of the technologies that have become quite popular with automakers as well as with consumers.

Customers are choosing these semi-autonomous vehicle technologies as they make driving easy and fun as well as increase safety of drivers, passengers and also for pedestrians. It reduces the risk of collision significantly, thus saving precious lives.

The report estimates that with the help of these technological features about 25,000 lives were saved in 2015 alone. As more and more cars will be equipped with these features, death rates would drop to 2500 or less per year until 2030.

Just few years ago, this technology was only limited to few high-end and high priced luxury cars. But today, this technology is being offered even in mid-end cars as well.

One of the most common technologies is the collision warning technology. This technology helps in detecting cars in the front with radars and camera and the distance between the two vehicles and gives out warnings.

At present, this technology is available in about 58.1% of new cars in the UK. The report also mentioned that just five years ago, this was only 6.8%.

Another such technology is autonomous emergency braking which will automatically apply brakes when it detects an imminent collision situation and when the driver fails to react.

This feature is now available in about 39% of the new vehicles. Out of these about half of the vehicles have this technology as a standard feature, rather than an added feature.

Other technologies or features such as blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control are now being fitted in almost one-third of cars. This number was just 10% just five years ago.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes said: "Fully driverless cars are still a long way off from everyday use, but this data shows advanced autonomous technology is already making its way into the majority of new cars.

"Connected and autonomous cars will transform our society - vastly improving safety and reducing congestion and emissions - and will contribute billions to the economy.

"The UK is already earning a reputation as a global development hub in this field, thanks to significant industry and government investment, and the ability to trial these cars on the roads right now."

There are several tech majors working on self driving cars including Google, Apple, Ford, GM, Toyota and Daimler.

Image: Google's Self-driving SUV in Kirkland. Photo: Courtesy of Google