Driveless, Crashless or… Feckless

Just what is it that safety engineers seek in their projects to reduce the auto crash total and the increasing number of  highway fatalities and injuries?

 An ideal worth copying is Cadillac’s Super Cruise driving system, a highly regarded self-driving system that insiders agree is the closest feasible development in the pursuit of a 100 percent crash-free level.

Says GM executive director Gary Smyth, who runs GM’s North America science labs: “Crash-free cars will not only save thousands of lives, but they’ll all but eliminate human-error crashes, now accounting for 93 percent of all crashes,” says NHTSA director John Maddox.

Cadillac’s Super Cruise system meets NHTSA’s driverless target and is adaptable on nearly all vehicles, says Maddox, who would like to see vehicles freed from hand’s-on or “feet-off” controls.

Cadillac plans to offer no-driver systems to reach marketability by mid-decade, with approval for legal roadblocks in cases where crashes happen anyway if accidents occur and fatals or injuries ensue, despite a driver’s inability to override a technical safety defect.

Taking a step forward in the ”Driverless/crashless and feckless” project is Ford, whose Fusion lists six areas to decrease driver involvement functions on all its vehicles from Lincoln to Focus:

  1. Antilock brakes
  2. Cruise control (‘adaptive’)
  3. Electronic stability control
  4. Self-parking (parallel to parked vehicles)
  5. Texting
  6. Traffic Jams

NHTSA applaudes the “crashless” goals of automakers, including Toyota on its hybrid Prius and Cadillac on the Super Cruise system. The latest technology brings uses night vision to alert drivers and even brake cars.

Several states have seen vehicle laws amended to embrace safety technology, such as penalizing drivers while texting on computers. A ‘Driverless Car’ summit held last June focused on speeding up dates for allowing driverless cars in the U.S.A., with a target date of 2020.