Insurance institute gives stamp of approval to collision avoidance

You could hear suppliers sighing with relief on July 3 after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its safety analysis of collision-avoidance technology.

The institute examined crash data for forward collision-avoidance systems used by Acura, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. The systems detect objects in front of the vehicle with radar and sometimes cameras, and warn the driver of an impending collision. Some activate brakes automatically if the driver fails to respond.

Accidents for Acura and Mercedes vehicles were 14 percent less likely when the vehicles had forward collision warning with autonomous braking.

Crashes were 10 percent less likely for Volvos with the same equipment, although the study cautions that those results were not statistically significant.

Moreover, vehicles with adaptive headlights had a lower accident rate than those without the feature, but lane-departure warning systems did not seem to reduce vehicle accident rates.

Overall, this study should provide reassurance to Delphi Automotive, Robert Bosch GmbH, Continental AG, Denso Corp. and others that have invested heavily in such systems.

Automakers will brag about collision avoidance systems, consumers will buy them and the market will continue to expand.