There are those out there who fear that semi-autonomous driving technology will ultimately lead to lazy drivers. While I certainly understand the argument, the truth is I don't have laser eyes in the back of my head (don't tell my kids). In some instances, these systems can see more and react faster than humans can. And, while much of this technology is still in its infancy, if it prevents a tragedy on the road with my own family, it's hard to argue against it.
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Leading the way in autonomous and semi-autonomous driving is Volvo, which, believe it or not, has a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles on the road currently in Sweden. The automaker is taking what it's learning in that living lab and applying it to semi-autonomous driving technology in its cars here in the U.S.
The new XC90, for example, can completely avoid several different types of crashes without human intervention: front collisions with other cars, pedestrians and cyclists at certain speeds as well as intersection auto braking to avoid a crash from oncoming traffic while turning through an intersection. The XC90 also has autonomous steering that works in conjunction with adaptive cruise control to help fill in the blanks if, for example, a distracted parent turns to check on a child in the backseat. These systems are helping Volvo get closer to its safety goal of no human killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020.