To people who consider the drive more than the arrival when they get in a car, the concept of smart braking is pure affrontery, in the realm of employing a personal bum-cleanliness steward. But, you know, better living through technology and all that, so carmakers are considering how to get cars, themselves, to decide when the time is critical to drop anchor. Renault even launched a new research lab to find out how how drivers go about their business and develop pattterns in order to teach machines to do the work.
For Renault, getting those machines to spot trouble and react even more quickly than a fully present, attentive driver means teaching them how such drivers do it in the first place. For that, the company is testing drivers' reactions in various conditions (including multitasking) using virtual reality and other methods at France's national research center, CNRS.
CNRS and Renault created a joint-research lab, the Virtual-Environment Motion Perception and Control Laboratory (LPCMV) at the center, to investigate how drivers interact with their environment. In the course of their research, scientists at the lab use simulation tools to eyeball drivers' use of controls — measuring how various dashboard interfaces affect driving practice — and monitor their every move, including reactions to typical and atypical driving scenarios. The whole point is to create a "model of driver psychology" that can be used as a baseline when creating and programming automated driver-control systems. Getting the system to identify when to flip the bird may be more difficult.