Active driver-assist features are becoming more and more prominent in modern automobiles, and according to a recent study, are more desirable among new vehicle shoppers than fully autonomous features. However, safety standards for these systems are in the midst of major renovations, as they’re set to receive official ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), while that same organization is also weighing changes to its automatic emergency braking testing, specifically, raising the speeds at which those systems are tested. Now, a new study from IIHS has found that many driver assist features present in Ford Co-Pilot360 could be especially helpful for older drivers, in particular.
The study found that driver-assist features such as those utilized in Ford Co-Pilot360 could prevent a significant number of the crashes suffered by drivers in their 70s and 80s, an age group that’s particularly vulnerable to severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. Additionally, these older folks present more of a risk on the road because of age-related declines in cognitive abilities and vision.
For this study, IIHS looked at federal crash data from 2016-2019 to compare the types of crashes that are most common for older drivers and their middle-aged counterparts. Researchers then estimated how many police-reported crashes, driver injuries, and driver fatalities could be addressed by five existing features as well as two others related to vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity that aren’t in widespread use yet.
In total, IIHS determined that around 60 percent of the crashes incurred during that time period among this specific age group could have been prevented using these features, with automatic emergency breaking and lane departure prevention proving to be particularly effective. Meanwhile, intersection-assist features – which are relatively new – were found to be potentially relevant to 38 percent of crashes among those 70 and up.
Ford’s version of Intersection Assist utilizes the same camera and radar sensing technology as Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking to detect oncoming traffic when the driver is turning left, and if it senses a potential collision, the system can alert the driver to the danger and even apply the brakes to avoid a crash.