HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- In a class of family vehicles where safety can be a big selling point, Honda is betting on high-tech to avoid wrecks in its 2015 CR-V.
The 2015 CR-V will be the first vehicle in Honda's lineup to get what the automaker has named Honda Sensing, a bundle of six technologies that the brand hopes will put it step ahead of the razor-sharp competition in the compact crossover segment.
Three of them are becoming more common on vehicles. Adaptive cruise control keeps an even distance to the vehicle in front no matter whether it speeds up or slows down. Lane departure warnings sound when a car wanders out of its lane. And forward collision warning rouses an inattentive driver if there is a danger of crashing.
To those, Honda has added three new features that aren't usually found in mainstream car brands:.
* LaneWatch. Found in the Accord sedan and other Honda vehicles, it puts a live video stream of the car's blind spot on the right side on the video screen. Drivers don't need just to depend on the right side mirror and a glance over the shoulder to make a lane change.
*Lane Keeping Assist System. LKAS for short, the system steers the car back into the lane when it starts to wander out. It is aimed at making driving easier on highways. While it's a step on the road to a driverless car, it's a baby step -- it only works for about 15 seconds before a driver needs to turn the wheel a bit just to let the system know the car is still being piloted.
* Collision Mitigation Braking System. If drivers don't perk up and throw on the brakes if a car or person is detected in their path, the car will do it for them.
The Honda Sensing package will only be found on the new, most expensive trim level of the CR-V, called the Touring model. But they are sure to creep into other models and lower trim levels.
That's because Honda says it has set a goal of halving fatalities in its vehicles by 2020, going fatality-free by 2030 and being going without collisions at all by 2030.
While the CR-V will be aimed at women and young families -- groups that traditionally have strongly considered safety to be a top consideration -- Honda officials say safety is not the top reason for buying a CR-V.
'They buy it No. 1 for value,' says Jeff Conrad, senior vice president in charge of the Honda division in the U.S.
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