The Crash-Proof Car

When cars won’t let drivers make mistakes, crashes may become a thing of the past

11 min read
The Crash-Proof Car
Photo: Dan Saelinger; Prop Stylist: Dominique Baynes

You’re sitting behind the wheel of your car, but instead of looking at the road, you’ve been staring at your phone, perhaps reading a new e-mail message or texting a friend. Suddenly, the driver in the car ahead of you slams on the brakes. Rather than becoming a victim of distracted driving, you feel a gentle deceleration as your car comes to a stop on its own, easily avoiding a collision. You might look up to see what the holdup is, but that’s the extent of your concern. And your car starts itself up again as soon as the road is clear.

While this isn’t a realistic portrayal of your commute just yet, this future is coming—and some of the technology that will make it possible is already present in today’s cars. The more advanced models can warn of obstacles, adjust the distance to a car ahead, and activate the brakes when a distracted driver doesn’t. And this is just the beginning. According to research firm IHS, by 2055 roughly 90 percent of the cars in the United States will be able to drive themselves in some, if not most, circumstances.

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NASA’s first female engineering chief was there from conception to first light

5 min read
portrait of older woman in light blue jacket against dark gray background Info for editor if needed:
Sue Brown

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4 min read
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1 min read

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