EU to Mandate and Incentivize Autonomous Emergency-Braking Systems
By Davey G. Johnson
Last week in Park City, Utah, a group of us were discussing the chutzpah that some manufacturers have in charging hundreds of dollars for outboard mirrors that dip downward when the vehicle's placed in reverse. The consensus was, “Since the electric motors in the mirrors are already there, and the computers know the car's set to back up, it's only a line of code. A very expensive line of code.”
The European Union seems to be thinking along the same lines. Given the proliferation of antilock brakes and adaptive cruise-control systems, EU regulators are thinking, “Why not mandate automatic emergency-braking systems in an attempt to reduce collisions?”
As of now, the mandate only applies to commercial vehicles, which will be required to be equipped with the systems come November of 2013. The ruling for private automobiles is more dictum than mandate, but it dangles a seriously tasty carrot in front of manufacturers. Starting in 2014, Euro NCAP will include assessment of the autonomous braking systems in its crash-safety testing, and only vehicles so equipped will be eligible to earn the agency's coveted five-star rating.
Given that American regulators are serious about mandatory backup-camera installation in vehicles on our shores, it may only be a matter of time until autonomous braking winds up alongside stability control, ABS and airbags as systems that once seemed like safety perks for the wealthy but now appear in vehicles as a condition of sale.
After all, nothing cheapens once-pricey lines of code like a legal decree for mass adoption.
By far, the most important thing in a moving vehicle is a fully-functioning human brain. Why don't regulators push sensible mandates, like...uhh....gee, I don't know....maybe laws with teeth that prohibit cell phone use, texting, reading, shaving, applying makeup, and other totally distracting driver behaviors that happen all the time. Statistically, drivers that practice these behaviors are more dangerous than drunk drivers. They should be given one warning, then lose their licenses for a second offense. These people simply don't have the common sense and good judgement to drive safely. The continual addition of expensive and largely unnecessary high-tech systems in cars only drives prices higher where fewer people can afford to buy new cars. These systems are often prone to failure, and are expensive to fix. If Big Brother is insistent about keeping an eye on all of us, have him put laws in place that will actually reduce accidents, rather than requiring systems that eventually will lead to self-driving cars.
I swear sometimes the government intends to dumb society down on purpose like that movie Idiocracy and its Orwellian Nineteen Eighty-Four-ish message.
Far more stringent driving tests should be employed in the USA, as the standard of driving over here is terrible.
The californian driving test is a joke and could be passed by a monkey..people should be awake and aware whilst driving and be able to control the brakes themselves.
These systems make drivers ignorant in the basics of driving a two ton bullet. If the safety systems that today's drivers blissfully depend on to make all the correct decisions fail, they won't be skilled in what to do on their own. But they say ignorance is bliss.
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