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IIHS Rates Automatic Braking Systems; Seven Cars Get Top Honors

iStock/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- For the first time, crash tests are rating the performance of automatic braking systems in midsize cars and SUVs.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested the new technology in vehicles, which aims to prevent frontal crashes.

"The ratings are designed to help consumers choose the systems that are worth the money and encourage manufacturers to install more of the systems on vehicles," says Russ Rader of the IIHS.

After conducting tests at 12 and 25 miles per hour to see how effective the autobrakes are, the IIHS gave the vehicles a rating of superior, advanced or basic.  Seven vehicles -- the Cadillac ATS and SRX; Mercedes-Benz C-Class; Subaru Legacy and Outback; and Volvo S60 and XC60 -- earned the top rating. superior.

With the tests showing that automatic braking systems can substantially reduce a driver's speed before a crash, does that mean we are getting closer to having driver-less cars?

Not quite, says Rader.

"It's going to be years before truly driver-less cars, autonomous vehicles are out in the road in any numbers," he says.  "But the building blocks for that technology are already out on the road."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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