Flashing brake lights and sunroofs that close before accidents happen are products automakers and suppliers hope U.S. lawmakers will help push into future vehicles.
As a part of its European initiative, Jorg Breuer, senior manager of active safety for DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes car group, said the automaker hopes its products will help cut crashes in Europe in half by 2010. Breuer made his comments during a safety discussion Wednesday at Convergence 2004, a conference focusing on high-tech advancements in the auto industry.
Flashing brake lights to warn drivers of an emergency or a quick stop is one of the products the automaker wants to see on U.S. and European roads in the future. Although the technology is built in to the Mercedes-Benz S Class, Breuer said federal regulations prohibit it from being activated.
Juergen Diebold, project manager for Continental Automotive System's Active Passive Integration Approach, which combines several advanced electronic safety technologies into a single system, said crashes with fatalities could be significantly reduced once the system is widely available to the public.
Though still in development, Diebold said the system would help protect passengers via means such as pretensioning seatbelts and automatically closing windows and the sunroof when a potential crash is detected. But the technology would also require approval from the government before being offered to consumers. The system has been tested on various BMW models.