One for the gradual-takeover-by-autonomous-vehicles file via Wired:
New European regulations have passed that will require new cars to have autonomous emergencybraking (AEB). From 2014 onward, the Euro NCAP will include AEB in its assessment of new cars, which will make it impossible for any model without the tech to achieve a five-star safety rating.
Philippe Jean of the European Commission said that all commercial vehicles will need to be fitted with the technology by November next year.
AEB uses radar, laser, or video to sense an impending collision. The software then primes the brakes, or applies them if the situation is too far gone. The hope is that the safety tech will be particularly effective with front-end impacts, such as in heavy traffic. Besides stopping rear-ending crashes that clog up freeways, the required systems will also sense pedestrians in the roadway and apply the brakes before impact.
The European Comission carried out a study that found vehicles fitted with this technology reduced traffic accidents by 27 percent, which translates to 8,000 deaths prevented and between £3.9 ($6.05) billion and £6.3 ($9.7) billion saved each year.
Philippe Jean said of the Euro NCAP crash test organization, “Our studies indicate that the resulting reduction in congestion due to accidents would represent an economic value of about €100 million in Germany alone.” The NCAP also said that 79 percent of the cars currently on sale in Europe are not fitted with the technology. You can read the full report here (PDF).