Do you trust your phone or your car?

Des Toups


Managing Editor

Drivers would rather put their trust in Apple than in Volvo, a new survey finds.

The British automotive site CarSafetyRules.com asked 1,000 men and women where they expected the next advances in auto safety technology to come from.  Volvo, the car brand long synonymous with safety, placed third, behind both Apple and Google.

"Consumers expect future cars to be more intelligent and to offer more electronic support to improve safety, but they mainly see brands like Google and Apple delivering these kinds of advances,” says managing editor Tristan Honeywill.

Google has taken a leadership role in developing self-driving cars (See “Why robot cars are inevitable.”); Apple’s contributions so far mainly have been ease-of-use apps for its iPhone that find cheaper gas, parking spots, traffic backups and speed traps.

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Perhaps a Google autonomous car will give iPhone users more time to devote to their apps.

Does technology = safety?

Brands such as Volvo, Mercedes and Lexus have developed and made popular such technologies as anti-lock brakes and stability control, features now standard on even the cheapest cars sold in the U.S. Newer systems that steer headlights around corners and help with emergency braking are percolating down from luxury showrooms. (See “Car safety: Thank a rich guy.”)

While the day of fully autonomous vehicles is perhaps decades away, it’s easier to see the role Silicon Valley plays today in building systems that allow cars to talk to one another, let drivers communicate more easily and wake up a sleepy or inattentive driver.

Insurance companies have been slow to react to specific safety advances, no matter which company is behind them. You won’t find discounts for costly new safety features, but you will for those such as air bags and antilock brakes, as their worth is proved by lower claims.

But there won’t be any iPhone discounts anytime soon.

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