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Cooley On Cars
Top 5: Trickle-down safety techCNET's Brian Cooley checks out five safety technologies that have trickled down from high-priced cars from the past.
You know the fat cats with their expensive cars get all the toys first. But we get the last laugh as all that tech trickles down to our rides and faster every year. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m B.C. with the Top 5 car safety technology that used to only protect rich guys but is now keeping us alive too. WeÃ¯Â¿Â½re gonna rank these by a combination of how common they are and how commonly you will use them. 5 - ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL This tech not only maintains speed but distance to the car ahead debuted in Japan on the Mitsubishi Diamante in 1995 but didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t hit the U.S. the 2000 Lexus LS 430. Today find it on cars like the it on a Mazda 6 or Mitsu Outlander. Look for big growth here as largely the same parts and software also make possible forward collison avoidance tech.. 4 - REAR CAM The 1956 Buick Centurion was the first car with a backup camera. Yep, way back then. But then we never saw one again until the early 2000s when LCDÃ¯Â¿Â½s started showing up in the dash, giving the camera image a place to live. Today almost all most cars at least offer them though they are still too often optional, even on a Bentley Flying Spur. The Feds have repeatedly balked as making them required. 3 - AIRBAGS The 1974 Olds Toronado was perhaps the first production car with Ã¯Â¿Â½Air Cushion Restraint SystemÃ¯Â¿Â½ as they called it. Low take rate, so away it went. (Write to PopMech screen grabs.) Then in 1981 Mercedes put it front and center on the S Class and but 1989 front airbags were required for the driver, across the front row byu 1998. 2 - ABS March of 1969, ABS arrives -- on the Concorde! The in 1970 Ford had it optional on rear wheels of Continentals, Chrysler on all 4 wheel in 1971. The EU has required it on all cars since 2007, but the U.S. doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t. Some mumbo jumbo about how to accurately test its effectiveness. As of 2012, however, I think I stopped seeing any car sold in the U.S. without it. INTERSTITIAL Before we get to #1, Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring are not it. ThatÃ¯Â¿Â½s because, so far, insurance industry data shows rather tepid improvement in safety with them. 1 - ESC Electronic Stability Control first shows up in polished for on big Mercedes and BMWs in 1987, and as of the MY 2012 is required on all new cars in the U.S. Simply put, ESC is unbelievable, reducing fatal rollovers by 70% and all fatal crashs by 14% in cars and double that in SUVs. In many ways its the cure for the lousy driver.