Lots of cars self-prime the brakes when they sense an impending collision, so you get full stopping power before you even ask for it. We're already getting autonomous braking – the Volvo XC60, for example, will actively brake to avoid a collision – and several companies offer adaptive cruise-control systems that brake you down to a stop. Once found only in high-end Benzes and safety-conscious Volvos, brake assist is standard across the board on the redesigned 2012 Dodge Charger, where it's called "ready alert braking." People who have watched 'The Matrix' too many times might worry about ceding control to the machines, but anyone who's ever had an attention lapse that led to a minor rear-ender will love these systems.
Illustration by Larry Jost
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