Goal is to reduce crashes, mitigate injuries by providing a cocoon of safety
In a presentation to the Lifesavers Conference 2005 today, Continental Automotive Systems, North America, President and CEO Bill Kozyra told the nation's safety leaders that the technology to vastly improve vehicle safety is close at hand.
Speaking with regard to Continental's total vehicle safety concept, Kozyra said, "Technology necessary for helping make driving accident-free -- or for substantially reducing the incidence of crashes and injuries -- is nearly here. At Continental we call it Active-Passive Integration and it helps provide a comprehensive approach to vehicle safety, total safety as NHTSA calls it, whereby you treat the vehicle, driver and environment as a total system," Kozyra said. "It is a new generation of technology. We are in the midst of a revolution in smart vehicle safety technologies. Improved sensors, processors and general electronic capabilities lead to a wide range of possibilities to fight the causes of crashes."
Kozyra pointed out that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death and serious injury in multiple age groups and driver error is the most significant factor in many of these crashes. As a result, drivers need tools to avoid critical situations in daily traffic and help prevent crashes. NHTSA is recognizing this need, recently calling for a greater emphasis on crash avoidance to drive fatality and injury rates down.
Electronic stability control (ESC) is a driving force behind NHTSA's support of crash avoidance. Tests conducted by NHTSA show that ESC reduced single vehicle crashes in passenger cars by 35 percent and single vehicle SUV crashes by 67 percent. Evaluating only fatal crashes, ESC was associated with a 30 percent reduction for passenger cars and 63 percent for SUVs.
Continental, a major supplier of ESC, is already taking crash avoidance to the next level with a total vehicle safety approach to avoiding crashes and mitigating injuries. The vision of a total safety vehicle combines active and passive technologies, offering a concept for making vehicles virtual safety cocoons that provide drivers the tools to more effectively manage the vehicle by detecting obstacles in the front, rear or sides of the vehicle and recommending action.
"Our goal is to apply proactive technology to help prevent crashes from happening and mitigate injuries, as part of an integrated, comprehensive assistance system that will provide the driver and occupants with the best possible support."
Continental's concept of a total safety vehicle is embodied in the active- passive integration concept car. The vehicle is Continental's "anticipatory" car of the future that networks active and passive safety systems and integrates area sensors to help the driver avoid crashes and give vehicle occupants maximum protection. The car, using micro-electronics, gathers data, synthesizes it, activates and controls electronic reflexes to assist the driver.
"Tests using the total vehicle safety concept show we could achieve a 15 percent reduction in stopping distance alone by using sensors integrated with the brakes. NHTSA estimates that 1.1 million or 17 percent of crashes could be prevented annually if all vehicles were equipped with just rear-end, roadway departure and lane change technology. That research was conducted in the mid-1990s, prior to many of the new technologies coming on the market today. Just imagine what we can do by adding ESC and integrating these new active safety technologies -- like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control -- to greater effect."
Choosing the right vehicle - Choosing the type of vehicle
you want and need is a very personal decision. Sport utility? Truck? Family
Sedan? Sport Coupe? Convertible? Performance? There are several very good
buying guides and magazines available to help you make that decision.
They have a good section of used car reviews from selected manufacturers
dating as far back as 1991. It's always a good idea to do your homework
and do some research on the type of vehicle your looking for.
Are there any outstanding recalls? - For you and your
passengers safety, it's always a good idea to find out if there are any
outstanding recalls on your vehicle. Online databases such as www.nhtsa.dot.gov
has recall information of all vehicle makes and models.