A new infrared laser safety system that’s said to be more effective and cheaper than current radar-based systems has been developed, but major suppliers are sticking with the radar technology. These safety systems can be used to monitor whether vehicles up ahead are getting too close and can apply the brakes automatically to prevent a collision, or they simply can be used as a rear-parking sensor.

The creator of the new laser system, Ibeo, says its laser system overcomes the performance and resolution problems of radar systems, which can be affected by rain, snow or dust. Further, Ibeo's laser vision system scans from side to side for objects up ahead, reports Automotive News.

Both Japanese and German carmakers are testing the devices in prototype vehicles, and Ibeo’s laser system has been tested with a field of vision of one-eighth of a mile and covering 240 degrees. Though still in the prototype stage, its maker predicts that it’ll feature in production models by 2010 and will become standard beyond that.