The car technology keeping you safe
Eight high-tech safety features worth having in your car.
Although we’re a long way from the arrival of a fully self-driving car, vehicle manufacturers are rolling out an extensive range of automated features that promise to make motoring easier and, more importantly, safer than ever before. Ranking at the top of these is autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a vehicle safety system designed to avoid or minimise the severity of a crash.
AEB systems use a variety of sensors including cameras, lasers and radars to monitor the view ahead and detect obstructions in a vehicle’s path. If the driver does not respond, the vehicle automatically applies the brakes.
Many AEB systems not only detect other vehicles, they can also detect the presence of pedestrians and cyclists to avoid or reduce the impact of a crash.
RACV has long supported this and other lifesaving vehicle technologies and welcomes news that Australia has moved one step closer to making AEB systems mandatory.
The federal government has called for comment on a proposed new rule that would require all new models launched from July 2022, and all new vehicles sold from July 2024, to be fitted with AEB that's capable of detecting both cars and pedestrians. That timing aligns with the planned introduction of similar rules in Europe.
RACV has formally supported the proposal but RACV’s senior engineer for vehicles, Nicholas Platt, says there is room for the government to go further. He says Australia should follow Europe's lead and mandate that all cars sold here include a range of the latest safety systems, including emergency lane-keeping technology, driver drowsiness detection and intelligent speed assist.
“Since there is no local vehicle manufacturing industry to consider there is no reason why these promising technologies shouldn’t be made compulsory like they will be in Europe,” he says, adding that in 2024 European countries will also require that cars be equipped with an enhanced AEB that better recognises cyclists. “That’s a technology that would greatly benefit Australian road users too,” he says.
Car safety technology has come a long way over the past 10 years. Although many of these features are not yet compulsory, even the more affordable new cars are now likely to come equipped with advanced safety technology – if not as standard, then as optional extras.
Here are some of the features to look out for and how they work.