For anyone who thinks that autonomous vehicles are the cars of the future, we hate to break it to you, but they're already here. In fact, they've been stealthily rolling into showrooms over the past several years, one feature at a time.
Many of us have now become accustomed to those features. As they accumulate--a little lane-keeping assist here, a little adaptive cruise control there--they create the elements of tomorrow's fully autonomous car.
Among the most important of those features is automatic emergency braking. In fact, it provides such a safety boost that the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety created a new, top-end ranking just for cars that have it. Not so long ago, the highest rating a vehicle could receive in IIHS tests was "Top Safety Pick". Beginning in 2013 though, those with collision warning and automated braking systems could earn a "Top Safety Pick+". (For those who want to know more about how those systems are scored, the IIHS is happy to explain.)
Because automakers are typically a competitive bunch, most have begun offering automated braking system on new vehicles, and many would like to see the technology made standard. But what about consumers? How do they feel?
We asked our followers on Twitter to share their thoughts on that very question. Here are their responses:
How important a role will automatic emergency braking play in your next new car purchase?— CarConnection (@CarConnection) September 15, 2016
As you can see, 29 percent of respondents said that automatic emergency braking is a must-have--a sizable number, but not nearly a majority. Another 42 percent were a little "meh" about the technology, saying that it's either not a priority (the top response) or that they don't really care.
However, 18 percent of those polled said that they didn't want automatic emergency braking at all. That seems curious to us, since studies have shown that when it's properly designed, the technology can dramatically reduce injuries and make roads safer.
If you responded to this poll and want to explain your answer, we'd love to read it in the comments below--especially if you're one of the folks who's actively avoiding the technology. Does it excite or anger you to know that many automakers are planning to include automatic emergency braking on all new vehicles by the year 2022?