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Definition: automotive safety systems


Vehicular systems that help prevent an accident are increasing rapidly. Combined with all the computer-based entertainment, navigation, dashboard and engine control, electronic systems comprised more than 20% of the car's value in 2017; a 7% increase from 2015. Automotive safety is the latest implementation of computers, which are designed to work automatically or provide a function drivers must activate each time. See automotive systems and microcontroller.

Old Passive
Passive systems require no action on the part of the driver other than buckling seat belts. Head rests, airbags, anti-lock braking (see ABS) and tire pressure monitoring (see TPM) are passive safety measures that date back to the 1960s and 1970s in the U.S.

New Passive
Automatic braking, blind spot alerts, rear blind zone monitoring, driver alerts and adaptive headlights are modern passive systems. See collision avoidance system, blind spot monitoring, driver alert and adaptive headlights.

New Active
Active systems must be turned on by the driver. Cruise control that keeps a set distance, lane changing warnings, self-parking and self-driving are examples. See adaptive cruise control, lane departure system, self-parking car and self-driving car.




Safety Systems in a Lincoln
A TV commercial for the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus touts its safety systems by displaying the checklist that appears on the dashboard when starting the car. (Image courtesy of Ford Motor Company.)