Car tech: Building the zero-fatality car

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An automobile that's so safe, nobody will die in it? New technologies are bringing us ever closer to that goal.

In the future, new cars might include an appealing sticker: This car is rated for zero fatalities.

As ambitious as it seems, the zero-fatality goal is achievable, according to Ed Kim, an analyst at automotive research firm AutoPacific Inc. in Tunstin, Calif. In the next 10 years, there will be a confluence of safety technologies -- such as road-sign recognition, pedestrian detection and autonomous car controls -- that lead to safer cars, says Kim.

Getting there will require carmakers to develop and strengthen an underlying technological infrastructure that can support intense crash simulations using tens of millions of data points, as well as a robust communications network that sends out safety signals between cars. The result will be the deployment of new active safety methods that can predict a crash and drive you out of a jam -- literally.

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