Technology ‘may cut insurance costs and accidents’

24th October 2012

The increasing costs of motoring make it prohibitive for some and it is not just prices at the pumps that drivers are struggling with.

Hikes in insurance premiums are often reported in the news, so anything which may help lower costs is sure to be welcomed by motorists.

Mazda has just announced the launch of its SKYACTIV technology which will be used in its compact SUV Mazda CX-5.

The technology is, according to Mazda, designed to provide "a driving performance that's refined and fuel-efficient", and therefore more cost-effective.

Drivers will also benefit from the Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system which helps motorists to avoid collisions, and this is where real cost savings can be made as insurance premiums on these cars are set to fall, according to the Association of Insurance Brokers (ABI).

The reason insurance companies have more faith in cars which have SCBS is that it works by using radar systems to keep an eye on the speed of the vehicle in front. It then monitors the distance between your car and the one ahead and will brake automatically if it feels a collision may occur.

David Wilson-Green Mazda UK's after-sales director suggested that the technology could result in real-life savings for drivers.

"Although any change in premium depends on many factors that insurers evaluate, even a small reduction in group rating has the potential to cut insurance costs.

"We anticipate that the lowered group ratings for CX-5 could result in annual savings up to £50 on some models for our customers."

So-called crash-proof cars are not a new phenomenon, and Volvo has been keen to suggest that in the future crashes on the road could become a thing of the past.

The Swedish manufacturer recently announced its partnership with the Car to Car Communication Consortium in the hope that it could have a "common platform for car to car communication … within five years".

Outlining his vision for the future of motoring, Erik Israelsson project leader of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems at Volvo Car Corporation, said:  "We will have advanced exchange of vital information between vehicles such as their position, speed and direction."

Volvo has suggested that in years to come cars will be able to make use of emergency vehicle warnings, alerts about road works, slow vehicles and traffic jams.

It is not just road safety that these systems would improve, Mr Israelsson has suggested that technology may hold the key to improving traffic flow and could make the driving experience an altogether more comfortable one.

Euro NCAP, the independent crash test company, has suggested that Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems can be effective in preventing accidents, but are not widely available.

It quotes real world performance data which suggests that AEB systems could cut accidents by as much as 27 per cent, although a survey undertaken by the company revealed that 79 per cent of cars for sale in Europe do not have the technology.

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: "A faster penetration of these technologies into new cars will make it more realistic for the European Union to reach its target to cut road deaths by 50 per cent by 2020."

In a bid to encourage manufacturers to include the technology in their vehicles, AEB assessments will be included as part of its star rating from 2014.

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