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Last year nearly 2,000 people were killed in road traffic accidents on Britain’s roads where the blame was placed on distracted, speeding or careless drivers; so where does this leave the future of our cars? Many modern cars are coming equipped with a host of safety features including automatic breaking and speed limiting keys, possibly a boy (or girl) racer’s worst nightmare – but could this be the future of British cars?

Automotive safety technology is constantly evolving and advancing so take a look at just a few of the latest and greatest safety technologies:

Proactive Safety – Not Reactive:

Once used for tracking aircrafts, the radar guided cruise control is now set to keep your car safely on the road. It slows down and speeds up your car depending on the flow and speed of the traffic around you. Autonomous Emergency Breaking (AEB) is a luxury addition to various cars such as the Audi A6, the Mercedes E Class and now even the new Ford Fiesta – AEB uses either radar, video or laser to detect any hazards such as other vehicles or pedestrians.

If the AEB system detects a hazard it will inform you that you need to break or if a collision is likely to happen it will break automatically. This sort of technology has been coined ‘active safety’; different from passive safety features such as crumple zones and airbags.

From 2014, new European Regulations will mean that to achieve a five-star safety rating new cars must come equipped with AEB.

Power for the Parents:

Ford’s latest innovation, named Mr Key will be the bane of many speedy teenagers lives however safety conscious parents will love it. Mr Key allows parents to supply their child with a pre-programmed key which will limit the car’s top speed as well as the volume of the stereo.

Mr Key comes as a standard feature on the new Ford Fiesta, and although it may not be a young driver’s dream the technology is very flexible meaning that the speeds and stereo levels can be adjusted by the parent as and when they feel they trust their child to driver sensibly and responsibly.

Protecting the Pedestrians:

When it comes to safety features in cars, pedestrian safety has always fallen behind passenger safety but with EU regulations getting tougher car manufacturers need to up their game. And Volvo has taken the lead; the new V40 model comes equipped with the world’s first pedestrian airbag. Available as standard, the airbag can be activated between 10 and 30mph as this is the speed in which the majority of pedestrian collisions happen.

The airbag has two main functions – one is to raise the bonnet, creating distance between the car and the pedestrian and the second is to cushion the impact around the windscreen area. The airbag operates using seven camera and radar sensors which trigger the release mechanism and deploys the airbag across the car’s bonnet.

Driverless Cars:

This is perhaps the most innovative and the most controversial of the new safety features. There has been a lot in the news lately about driverless cars and how much the technologies have advanced in recent months and years.

Google has been testing its very own driverless car since 2005 and it was even granted its own Nevadan driving license back in 2011. Now two major car manufacturers are following in pursuit – Toyota and Audi.

Some people love the idea of sitting back and relaxing during the commute to work while your car does all the hard bits, but there are others who are not so keen – preferring to be in control of their own car.

Driverless car technology is still a long way off and it will be some time before it enters our UK showrooms. Nevertheless it’s still advanced enough that Audi’s driverless car has the ability to avoid collisions and even park itself neatly in a space without any help from a driver.

Some of these technologies may be seen as health and safety gone mad, but with such a high number of people being injured and losing their lives on Britain’s roads each year – have these safety features become a necessity for the 21st Century motor?

This post was written by Meredith Watts, she just bought a new car with the help of the expert team at Moneybarn, offering you a helping hand in the form of car finance, regardless of your credit rating.