Keeping you safe is a priority, that’s why automotive manufacturers and engineers developed the collision avoidance system. There are many factors that can cause a collision, and a vehicle’s collision avoidance system can work as a preventative tool to help better your safety. After all, accidents happen.

What is a Collision Avoidance System?

As one of the key components in safety and part of the new age of self driving car technology, collision avoidance systems utilize a computer operated system comprised of radar, laser, and/or video technology to predict whether or not the vehicle is at risk for a collision.

The radar system is designed to factor in an array of factors, which include the vehicle’s position, its speed and acceleration. These factors are then calculated in relation to other targets, such as other vehicles or objects that could cause a collision. If there is any potential for a collision the collision avoidance system will alert the driver or react on behalf of the driver.



While the first demonstration of collision avoidance system technology was performed in 1995 in California, it wasn’t until nearly half a decade later that automotive manufacturers began to utilize the self driving car technology. The initial debut, performed by a group of scientists and engineers from Hughes Research Laboratories, featured collision avoidance system technology as solely radar based. The Lexus SC400 was the first to debut the forward radar-head, with the Cadillac STS following suit soon after. At this time, however, the technology was called FOREWARN.


The following year at the 1996 North American International Auto Show the concept SUV known as the SSC made its debut. What set the SSC apart from other concept vehicles was the fact that despite having a warning system and certain feedback features, the collision avoidance system also had minor braking control. The SSC, which stands for Safety Security & Communications, was then sent to Europe and Asia. Various automotive manufacturers began working towards providing such technology for consumer use.

Availability in the Consumer Market


Collision avoidance system technology can be seen in various forms on the consumer market today. Mercedes-Benz launched their Pre-Safe System in 2002. The manufacturer used its electronic stability control sensors as a way of measuring the steering angle of the vehicle, acceleration, and brake assist sensors. Combined, it worked to tighten seatbelts, adjust seat positions in both front and rear, close the sunroof, and more. Since then, Mercedes-Benz has continued to develop its collision avoidance system, which now includes features such as autonomous cruise control system, autonomous braking features, cross-traffic assist, and more. Manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, and Toyota have followed suit with a comprehensive laser and/or radar based system. Meanwhile, other brands such as Chrysler, FIAT, GM, Ford, and so forth, offer various aspects of this technology.

Today, many vehicles come equipped with front collision prevention technology, as part of their collision avoidance system. Features vary from manufacturer to manufacturer; however, it includes features such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous/semi-autonomous braking, electronic stability control, and more, all while alerting the driver of a potential frontal collision.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that front crash prevention technology (part of many vehicle’s collision avoidance system) is in fact reducing collisions. While many forms of the technology, such as rear crash prevention, are not yet widely available, it is reported features that have been around longer such as electronic stability control have reduced “…fatal single-vehicle crash risk by 49 percent and fatal multiple-vehicle crash risk by 20 percent for cars and SUVs.”

Furthermore not only does a vehicle’s collision avoidance system work as a preventative tool, allowing for a safer experience, but it also has the potential to allow for a more responsive driving experience. For instance, with features such as blind-spot detection, drivers are able to be more aware of their surroundings and respond to warning signals.

Even if a collision is unavoidable, the vehicle’s collision avoidance system can significantly reduce the impact of the collision. Meanwhile, other statistics indicated that the future collision avoidance system could result in a significant drop in accidents. IIHS reports that “if all passenger vehicles were equipped with [collision avoidance system features such as] forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot detection and adaptive headlights, about 1 in 3 fatal crashes and 1 in 5 injury crashes could potentially be prevented or mitigated.”

With autonomous driving features on the rise, your vehicle’s collision avoidance system could save your life. Self driving car technology such as brake assist and adaptive speed control can not only lower the impact of a collision, but has the potential to prevent it altogether. With a range of features available to mass markets, driving has the potential to become much safer. To learn more about your vehicle’s collision avoidance system, visit your local vehicle dealership.

About the Author

Kandace Parks first grew to love writing about the automotive industry in 2013 while writing vehicle reviews for a Canadian based company. Eventually getting hired on full time, Kandace had the opportunity to learn more about the latest technology used by many popular automotive manufacturers, which fueled her passion even more. When Kandace isn’t writing she is on an adventure, or at the very least plotting her next one.