As autonomous technology and sensing systems have become more advanced, companies like Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Continental have begun to demonstrate what is already possible in terms of driver protection and collision avoidance. Cars that know how to safely maneuver themselves offer an extra layer of protection over seat belts and airbags. The first examples of parking, braking, and steering assistance have debuted in upscale cars as premium options. Nissan plans to make these features available to more people, as a part of its Safety Shield package.

The company claims its system can prevent collisions at speeds below 37mph. Like similar systems, it makes use of video cameras and radar to maintain awareness of its surroundings at all times. Vehicles equipped with the technology will determine if a collision is probable, and engage the brakes, coming to a complete stop automatically, if necessary.

The Moving Object Detection (MOD) system does give the driver a chance to react first. The Around View Monitor allows the driver to check blind spots from inside the car, by detecting and displaying the location of nearby objects, like pedestrians or other cars. If any of these objects get too close, the MOD system provides visible and audible warnings to the driver.

Like seat belts and airbags, once these safety features are proven in the real world, some will eventually become standard on most cars. Cars can only become so smart, but simply making them aware of each others' presence can go a long way in avoiding crashes.

[Nissan via The Car Connection]