Automakers tout safety technology with Web campaign
WASHINGTON -- To go along with the glitzy debuts of the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, the largest U.S. trade group for automakers has started an online campaign touting high-tech features aimed at helping drivers avoid crashes.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers launched the campaign with a new channel on the streaming video site YouTube.com that explains the offerings of its 12 members, which include General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor North America Inc.
A recent poll by the alliance found that two-thirds of customers are interested in looking at such safety offerings the next time they buy a car or truck. The features are mostly found in high-end models today, but the alliance says they could help drive sales.
"This is the next generation of 'gotta have it' auto technology, and when people see the systems in action, they are amazed," the alliance's CEO, Mitch Bainwol, said in a statement. "More than 90 percent of crashes involve driver error of some kind, so automakers created a range of driver assist systems that aid the driver for brief periods of time to help avoid an accident."
The Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the media on Wednesday and to the public on Friday, features the North American or world debut of several vehicles with new safety features.
Among them is the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander, which buyers will be able to equip with forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
Regulators are eying such features as a way to prevent fatal crashes. Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board -- a government watchdog panel that does not itself regulate vehicles -- recommended that many of the features be made standard in all new vehicles.
In a subsequent interview, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt told Automotive News it's important for consumers to understand these "very promising" technologies, which differ from airbags and other safety features of the past.
Said Sumwalt: "We're moving from the old way of doing things, where we try to develop technology to mitigate the accident, to actually preventing the accident."
PRESS RELEASE: Innovative Driver Assist Technology on Sale Now
Debut of YouTube Channel at Los Angeles Auto Show www.YouTube.com/DriverAssists
WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- To highlight the growing popularity of a new class of auto technologies called "Driver Assists," automakers today launched a new YouTube channel in conjunction with the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens on Nov. 30. The YouTube channel is the first part of a consumer campaign to highlight the benefits of Driver Assist technologies.
"This is the next generation of 'gotta have it' auto technology, and when people see the systems in action, they are amazed," said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO, Auto Alliance. "More than 90 percent of crashes involve driver error of some kind, so automakers created a range of driver assist systems that aid the driver for brief periods of time to help avoid an accident."
Driver Assist systems include lane departure and blind spot warnings, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, active headlights, telematics control systems, parking assists and more. These systems will be on display at the LA Auto Show and consumers can see how they work on www.YouTube.com/DriverAssists
About 6 out of 10 consumers (66%) are interested in getting one of these technologies when they next purchase a vehicle, according to an Auto Alliance opinion poll of 5000 consumers.
There are three types of Driver Assists. Warning and alert systems show a visual warning or sound an alarm or vibrate the steering wheel (or even seats) to alert the driver to take action, while active controls actually manage vehicle systems for fractions of seconds in emergencies, like electronic stability control that activates faster than a driver could act. Almost half of consumers (44%) favor the driving alerts while about a third (34%) favor active systems that steer, slow down or brake the car automatically in emergencies. Driver assist systems may also be controls and vision aides, like integrated in-vehicle telematics systems, cameras or night vision, to help you drive better in all kinds of situations.
While these technologies and other Driver Assist options will culminate at some point in the future in autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles, consumers today are more comfortable with driving alerts or systems that control the vehicle for seconds at a time.
Additional polling results indicate consumers are concerned about driving challenges that can be addressed by Driver Assists:
• 65% say that erratic drivers on the road are their biggest driving concerns.
• 58% of respondents said there was a time in the last month when another driver cut in from of them, forcing them to stomp on their brakes.
• When asked what driving situation is most challenging, answers included cars cutting in front of you (35%), stop-and-go traffic (24%), crowded highways (22%) and pedestrians, motorcycles and bikes (12%).
• The parking situations that were listed as most challenging included parallel parking (35%), backing in or out of parking spots (19%), pedestrians in parking lots (16%) and getting too close to parking lot ramp walls or other structures (12%).
"Cars are evolving to meet the changing nature of lifestyles and a range of environmental, societal and environmental challenges, and mobility is more than alive and well. Its future is vibrant – a powerful economic engine here in the United States and a central force for personal freedom. And every time a new car replaces an old vehicle, the world becomes a far cleaner and more fuel-efficient planet," said Bainwol.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 12 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. Visit www.autoalliance.org for more information.
You can reach Gabe Nelson at email@example.com.