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One in two new cars already have semi-autonomous safety technology

The research by the SMMT and JATO Dynamics shows that collision warning systems, which monitor the space ahead of the car using radar and cameras to provide obstacle warnings, were fitted to 58.1% of new cars in 2015 – either as standard or a cost option. In contrast, just five years ago collision warning featured on only 6.8% of new cars registered.

Autonomous emergency braking, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the effects of an impact should the driver fail to react, was fitted to more than 1 million (39%) of all new cars registered – with 18% of buyers getting the safety tech as standard.

Blind spot monitoring was featured on more than a third of new cars, while adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts the car’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead, was fitted to almost a third (31.7%) of new cars registered, either as standard or an option. Just five years ago, less than 10% of new cars were available with this technology.

A report commissioned by SMMT last year found that serious accidents could fall by more than 25,000, saving 2,500 lives every year by 2030, as a result of driverless vehicle technology.

The latest figures from the SMMT come as Thatcham calls for AEB to mandated as standard fit on new cars.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Fully driverless cars are still a long way off from everyday use, but this data shows advanced autonomous technology is already making its way into the majority of new cars. Connected and autonomous cars will transform our society – vastly improving safety and reducing congestion and emissions – and will contribute billions to the economy. The UK is already earning a reputation as a global development hub in this field, thanks to significant industry and government investment, and the ability to trial these cars on the roads right now.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.