Some of the gee-whiz technologies going into new cars – hands-off parking, say – seem more like an excuse for showing off than a real advance. But, according to an article in the July 2015 issue of Mechanical Engineering magazine, safety experts in England have found real-world evidence that one new technology is making a big difference – auto brakes.

The Thatcham Research Centre says that the automated emergency braking system on Volkswagon Golfs sold since January 2013 have produced a significant decline in serious accidents. Third-party injury claims on these Golfs are 45 percent lower than the equivalent rate in other small family cars.

The data comes from insurance companies and is based on about 7,000 vehicles that have been insured for a full twelve months.

Adaptive Cruise Control

The system on the Golf is adaptive cruise control, which has a radar-based distance monitoring system and city emergency braking added to its standard cruise control. According to Volkswagen, the Bosch-manufactured “ACC can brake the vehicle to a complete standstill, for example in slow-moving traffic.”

The system also provides an alert to the driver if the car closes in on the vehicle in front of it by less than a pre-set distance. In addition, during an approach to vehicle from behind, if the driver presses the brake without enough force to avoid a collision, the system will take over to stop the car in time.

The system can operate at speeds up to 99 miles per hour.

Front-Facing Camera

New Model Volkswagen Passats will sport an improved emergency braking system that features a front-facing camera and software capable of detecting pedestrians. This improved system will likely reduce accidents – and injury claims – even more.