The pathway to autonomous cars continues.
While fully autonomous cars are still years away from mass production, plenty of today's cars are already fitted with aspects of the technology we take for granted, from adaptive cruise control to self-parking. However, a report by the European Commission wants to uitilize the safety benefits and make as many as 19 autonomous technologies mandatory in new cars in the future, as part of the European Union's next update to vehicle safety rules.
Technologies outlined to be mandatory include autonomous emergency braking, active lane keeping assists, driver drowsiness and distraction monitoring and seat-belt reminders. What may alarm some car enthusiasts, however, is that the commission also wants to implement intelligent speed adaption, which would prevent you from breaking the speed limit. The number of fatalities recorded on European roads was 26,120 in 2015 - a decrease from 35,360 in 2009 and 76,650 in 1990. However, that number has been falling more slowly in recent years, prompting the commission to put forward the proposed safety measures.
It also feels that the safety measures need to be addressed to accommodate the rise of SUVs "with higher centers of gravity, higher masses and aggressive front-end design." Antonio Avenoso, executive director of independent road safety body the European Transport Safety Council, is keen on the proposals, but thinks more could be done to further reduce casualties on the roads and wants to speed up the process. "These long-overdue changes are a step in the right direction for road safety in Europe. But giving the industry fourteen years to implement some of the measures is incomprehensible, especially in light of the recent lack of progress in reducing deaths," said Avenoso.
There is also a sense of a growing inequality in road safety. With these proposals, drivers of more affordable vehicles will have to wait almost a decade to get guaranteed access to life-saving technologies that are available today on more expensive cars." Would you welcome these autonomous safety measures to be compulsory?