In the years since Karl Benz invented the modern auto-mobile in 1885, energy and safety have emerged as two long-standing themes, central to the automotive industry.1 With respect to energy, the increasingly urgent challenge has been to reduce the impact of CO2 emissions on the environment and to ameliorate resource depletion, either by using less fuel or through alternative energy sources. We have seen the emergence of a series of “next generation” vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles, that embody the pursuit of these goals.However, to associate next-generation vehicles only with such energy-related innovations is to understate the developments underway with regard to mobility. Safety innovations are also an essential and perhaps equally rich avenue of development, important for obvious reasons, but increasingly with a vital role to play in the future direction of vehicles and the systems that may surround their use.

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