Eat Your Heart Out, Hasselhoff

Safety First

Here's just a sampling of the flood of safety devices appearing on the 2001 models:

Too many dented fenders? Ultrasonic reversing/parking sensors chirp signals if you're dangerously close to other cars or obstacles, giving you plenty of warning to brake. You'll find them on Ford's Windstar, Taurus, Explorer and Mountaineer this year. Other systems in the works will warn of frontal collisions and automatically brake if a crash is imminent.

Instead of having you manually disengage your cruise control when traffic conditions force you to slow down, and then re-engage it, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) does it all for you electronically. Developed by Delphi Automotive Systems, the system detects vehicles 450 feet ahead and adjusts your speed to maintain a gap of one, two or 21¦2 seconds.

Lane-change assistance systems use detectors mounted near the taillights and side mirrors. These act as peripheral vision when yours is blocked and beep if a car is in the way when you activate your turn signal.

Coming from Chrysler are tiny cameras that replace side-view mirrors, displaying traffic around you on a small dashboard screen.

OnStar's updated system automatically tracks your location and sends emergency services when the airbag deploys.

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Eat Your Heart Out, Hasselhoff.

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