A gaggle of automakers in the United States recently announced an initiative to implement autonomous emergency braking on most new cars by 2022, and Toyota said it'll hit that goal by 2018. Over in the United Kingdom, buyers are already scooping up this and similar systems by the handful.
According to a study from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and JATO Dynamics, a majority of new cars registered in 2015 contained active safety systems, whether standard or optional. The most prevalent system was forward collision warning, which appeared on 58.1 percent of new cars -- more than half of those cars had it as standard equipment.
Autonomous emergency braking was the second most common system, covering 39 percent of new cars. Blind spot monitoring was hot on its tail with 35.8 percent, and adaptive cruise control came equipped on just under one-third of the UK's new cars. For these systems, the majority was optional equipment -- very few cars were purchased with standard blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control.
The study also pointed out that this is a relatively new trend. Five years ago, fewer than 7 percent of new vehicles came equipped with forward collision warning, and fewer than 10 percent of cars even had adaptive cruise control as an option.
While safety systems like these come with one big benefit -- reducing the number of collisions and related injuries -- the study points out that there are other, indirect benefits, as well. SMMT projects that the development, production and use of these new safety systems can provide hundreds of thousands of new jobs and boost the local economy by £51 billion (about $72 billion, converted).