Democratization of Safety? I’ll Vote for That!

Modern automobiles aren’t just getting safer. They’re getting safer for everyone. 

At Aptiv, we call this the democratization of safety. In simple terms, it means that advanced safety features such as autonomous emergency braking, lane departure and blind spot warning are, increasingly, no longer just for premium vehicles.

A number of factors are behind a trend that is bringing welcome protection – and reassurance – to more and more motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Perhaps the most obvious is the proactive and progressive influence being exerted by governments and safety agencies globally. Initiatives like Vision Zero and New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), with the Euro NCAP leading the evolution from occupant protection to the inclusion of collision avoidance features as part of the rating system, have created greater consumer awareness of the effectiveness of Advanced Safety Systems. Around the world, car manufacturers continue to incorporate enhanced safety features into all the vehicles they produce. 


But perhaps more interesting is the role being played by consumers. 

Going back a decade or so, consumer awareness of advanced safety features was low. Our development teams would regularly sit down with our customers and discuss how we could best promote the benefits of safety systems to the very people they were designed to protect. 

Today, it’s much less of a concern.

That’s because, over the space of a few short years, automotive safety has moved dramatically up the consumer agenda. Look no further than automotive advertising. A decade ago, you’d rarely see a mention of safety. Fast forward to 2019 and it’s often at the heart of the marketing message. Safety is now a primary consideration for drivers when deciding to purchase a new vehicle.

All of this is music to our ears. Naturally, commercial considerations are part of the story, as safety has always been a cornerstone of the Aptiv business. But what motivates our design and development teams? It goes much deeper. 

When you’re looking for reasons to head to work on a cold, dark Monday morning, the opportunity to develop solutions to save lives is what drives us. We want to see everyone enjoy the highest standards of protection available. The democratization of safety will do that. Furthermore, it creates a truly virtuous circle. The greater the demand for safety systems, the greater the economies of scale – making it easier to build into future platforms. 

What’s more, like any democratic movement, we can all play a role. By keeping automotive safety high on the political and consumer agenda, the momentum for change can continue. Helping to ensure that in the future, advanced safety becomes a right, not a privilege.