To date, most safety features have been about protecting vehicle occupants in a crash, but more manufacturers are adding active safety technology to vehicles that prevents accidents from occurring in the first place.
Nissan announced Tuesday its Forward Collision Avoidance Assist concept, which uses radar sensors to monitor the distance and relative speed of objects in front of the vehicle and delivers early alerts to warn of impending accidents. If the driver doesn't slow down quickly enough, the system will also intervene to prevent an accident by pushing up the accelerator pedal and partially applying the brakes to assist the driver in slowing the vehicle down. The system will also stop the car entirely to avoid a crash.
And though it also helps the driver from crashing, it may also prevent the vehicle from being crashed into: applying smoother braking over a longer distance should give vehicles traveling behind the car a longer time to react to traffic deceleration.
Several manufacturers, such as Volvo and Audi, either have or are developing similar technology, but Nissan claims its forward crash avoidance technology works at the highest speed. Nissan's technology works at speeds up to 37 mph, whereas Volvo's only works at speeds up to 19 mph.
(Source: Nissan via Wall Street Journal)