Report: Automated Safety Features Helping to Prevent Automotive Crashes

A study conducted by General Motors Co. and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor shows that active safety, driver assistance, and advanced headlighting features are making a significant impact in helping to reduce the number of automobile accidents.
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automated safety features illustration
UM and GM research have found that automated safety features are helping to reduce the number of automobile accidents. // Image courtesy of General Motors Co.

A study conducted by General Motors Co. and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor shows that active safety, driver assistance, and advanced headlighting features are making a significant impact in helping to reduce the number of automobile accidents.

The report studied 3.7 million GM vehicles across 20 different models from 2013-2017. Fifteen different systems were evaluated using police report crash databases available to U-M’s Transportation Research Institute from 10 states.

After comparing the crash instances involving vehicles with and without active safety features, the study showed that certain features evaluated had an impact in preventing the types of crashes the features were designed to help prevent or mitigate.

“This study is groundbreaking in terms of the broad range of vehicles and active safety and headlighting features examined,” says Raymond Kiefer, a GM safety technical fellow. “The results show that the GM active safety systems evaluated are addressing a wide range of common crashes that cause a staggering amount of injuries, property damage, and cost to our customers and society, putting GM well on its way toward a vision of zero crashes.”

Among the study’s findings include automatic emergency braking with forward collision alert reduced rear-end striking crashes by 46 percent. Other results include:

  • Lane keep assist with lane departure warning reduced lane departure-related crashes by 20 percent.
  • Lane change alert with side blind zone alert reduced lane change crashes by 26 percent.
  • Rear vision cameras, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking produced, respectively, an estimated 21 percent, 38 percent, 52 percent, and 81 percent reduction in backing crashes.
  • IntelliBeam and high-intensity discharge headlight features provided 35 percent and 21 percent reductions, respectively, in nighttime pedestrian/bicyclist/animal crashes, with a 49 percent reduction when offered together.

“A key finding of this work is that we can make substantial gains in safety through deployment of advanced driver assistance systems such as forward and rear emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and others,” says Carol Flannagan, a research associate professor at U-M, TRI. “In addition, we found that the more automated the system, the greater the benefits.”

Visit here to read the full report.

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