We’ve already seen huge advances in crash safety with the widespread introduction of seatbelts in the 1970s, airbags in the ’80s and, most recently, the evolution of electronic stability control.
Volvo has led the field when it comes to playing safely and last year introduced City Safety, a package that helps cars wearing the Volvo badge prevent a low-speed rear-end collision even before the driver is aware the situation is likely to end in bent metal. It uses forward-looking radar to detect if it is closing on the car in front too fast (a newer version also looks for pedestrians) and slows the Volvo down automatically.
Subaru is working on a similar system that uses two cameras – just like a pair of human eyes – to identify cars or pedestrians. The system will arrive on the more expensive six-cylinder Liberty and Outback models this year.