The purpose of this report is to estimate the potential benefits of some of the safety technologies emerging for passenger vehicles, trucks and motorcycles.

The focus is overwhelmingly on systems that actively prevent crashes, but a few passive safety features are also included. Intelligent speed adaptation is excluded from this report as it is being considered separately in an accompanying report. Direct short-range communication technologies were also outside the scope of the present report.

The largest potential for reducing the number of serious and fatal crashes in coming years is likely to come from forward collision detection and avoidance technologies. These technologies currently include emergency brake assist, ‘city-safe’ low speed obstacle detection with automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control with automatic braking (operating sometimes only above, for example, 60 km/h). In the next five years, it is expected that the technologies will continue to develop such that there will be complete convergence in the operable range of systems, and a complete integration of the sensing and intervention technologies. It is from such future systems that the largest road safety gains are likely to be made.

However, BCR values for forward collision detection and avoidance in passenger vehicles appear marginal given the present stage of development of the relevant technologies (where such systems might only be used to effect in higher speed limit areas); better estimates of future costs of the relevant technology will be critical to any justification for wide-scale installation.

Nevertheless, BCR values support wide-scale installation of forward collision avoidance technologies in trucks. Mechanisms are suggested for accelerating the deployment of cost-effective safety technology into to the Australian passenger fleet.