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Don’t expect your car’s safety technology to save you

The Verge: “…The companies are referring to technologies, typically known as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), that can manage aspects of the driving experience and intervene if the human behind the wheel makes a mistake. Such features include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and pedestrian detection. With billions of dollars invested, automakers, federal regulators, and safety advocates alike are bullish about ADAS’s potential to achieve “collision-free mobility,” as Honda puts it.  But upon examination, these new features are hardly the panacea that their boosters imply. Some elements presented as safety enhancements (like lane keep assist) may be little more than driver conveniences. For now, at least, those technologies that could save the most lives (like pedestrian detection) remain deeply unreliable. And even if ADAS eventually works flawlessly, it is likely to have only a modest impact on annual traffic deaths.  As the United States confronts a national crisis of traffic fatalities, carmakers and policymakers alike are focused on unproven and overhyped innovations. In reality, even the best technologies can’t compensate for the ways in which ill-conceived cars and poor street designs have made crashes more numerous and severe. We risk making our road safety crisis even worse by expecting car tech to bail us out…”

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