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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a list today which they call the “2013 Most Wanted,” meant to bring to light ten major issues facing transportation in the coming year.
Images of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe leaked today, giving us an idea of what features to expect in the upcoming model.
While there have already been teaser images spread across the internet, the brochure pictures show LED head and tail lights and indicate that the new model will have lane departure warning, parking assist, knee airbags and BlueLink.
[Source: The Korean Car Blog]
The 2013 Fusion will feature a digital camera mounted on the windshield that will detect lane markers and position itself between them. If the driver allows the Fusion to cross a lane, then the steering wheel will vibrate to alert the driver with a “rumble strip” sensation. If the Fusion drifts across the lane a bit too frequently, a chime and a coffee cup icon appearing on the instrument panel will politely suggest the driver pull over for refreshments.
Ford will bring its lane-departure warning system to other models in the line-up as well, starting with the Explorer SUV and will also include the technology on some new Lincoln models.
Ford Development Engineer Michael Kane said, “We’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring the accuracy of the lane-detection and the smoothness of the assist.”
The NHTSA has estimated that drowsy drivers have caused 100,000 crashes every year, 1,500 of which were fatal, 71,000 of which resulted to injury. These accidents also cost about $12.5 billion in losses.
GALLERY: Ford Fusion Lane-Departure Warning
General Motors is targeting a safety issue with new equipment that until now has been unaddressed.
They plan to release a front-seat center-airbag (pictured above) that deploys between the driver and passenger seats. The new feature is supposed to improve safety in the event of far-side impact crashes, which statistics show to be responsible for 11 percent of all crash-related deaths.
When such a crash occurs, the bag deploys in 26 milliseconds using a combination of pressurized argon and pyrotechnic gas. It forms a hard barrier between the passenger and driver sides of the vehicle, protecting against the possibility of two people damaging each other during a collision. The bag is also angled away from the passenger seat to keep the driver from smashing against the center console and is sturdy enough to help protect against a poll during such a crash.
GM developed the device in partnership with Takata, which stays rigidly inflated for several minutes after impact. Expect to see it in the 2013 Buick Enclave as standard equipment and as an option in the GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse. According to MotorTrend, GM chose the crossovers because they are the most likely to carry extra passengers. Despite being an option, the new airbags should appear on about 90 percent of these models.
The safety blitz isn’t stopping there, though, GM is also offering a low-cost safety system that offers both front crash detection and lane departure warning systems for only $295. That’s a bargain compared to the thousands it costs for similar features on Mercedes or BMW cars.
The difference is that GM’s technology takes advantage of a high-definition camera capable of processing 14 images per second through the car’s computer. In doing so, it recognizes pedestrians, motorcycles, cars and trucks while calculating your risk of hitting them. That risk is determined by how quickly the object in question is moving. The camera is mounted on the passenger side of the rear-view mirror, behind the windshield.
The system can be toggled to chirp at near, medium or far settings and can even be shut off completely. It also remembers what distance you set it to last when restarted. The notification system combines a red warning light on the dashboard with a series of eight beeps through the front stereo speakers. The system activates if the driver fails to signal a lane change and lower warning tones come from on the speakers on the corresponding side.
There might be plans in the future for GM to employ more safety features like high beam assist and traffic signal recognition but those features are more expensive because they use radar instead of the camera.
Expect the camera-based features to appear first on the 2012 GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Equinox.
Ads to appear on the first day of the Department of Transportation's Distracted Driving Summit
Tomorrow, if you pick up a copy of USA Today or The Washington Post, you’re likely to see Volvo’s full page ad, calling for legislation on “distracted driving.” The ads come on the very day that the U.S. Department of Transportation begins its two day Distracted Driving Summit to discuss the issue. Along with senior DOT staff, the summit will also host elected officials, safety advocates, academics and law enforcement representatives. Volvo, however, is not a participant, although the company that has built a reputation for vehicles that are, above all else, safe, obviously has something to say on the matter.
“With the proliferation of cell phone use and text messaging while behind the wheel, distracted driving is on the rise and is a leading cause of traffic accidents,” said Doug Speck, Volvo Cars North America president and CEO. “Reasonable laws that help focus a driver’s attention on the road will help reduce collisions, just as laws to enforce seat belt use have helped save lives. By holding this summit, the DOT is demonstrating its commitment to resolve an ever-growing safety issue.”
Along with numerous safety innovations throughout the decades, more recently Volvo prides itself on electronic systems such as lane departure warning or even the new “City Safety” system which debuted on the XC60 (above), that can actually stop the vehicle when a collision is detected.
Currently only seven states have banned cell phone use (without a hands-free device) while driving, while 18 states have laws against texting while driving.
Official release after the jump: