Long time followers of the Blog and my YouTube channel know that I am no “car guru”. I appreciate great cars, I am just not one of those people who gets excited about horse power or how many cylinders a car has. I do however get excited by the tech in the cars.
I recently wrote about how driverless cars are becoming a reality, but people asked if there is any tech today that is keeping us safe (besides the seat belt and airbags of course.)
The answer is yes. Here are several technologies that are being installed in vehicles today which are helping keep us safe on the roads:
A Need For Speed
Speeding is a real danger area and accounts for a great many accidents and a huge loss of life each year. But what if vehicles could prevent speeding? Of course, we currently have optional cruise control at high speeds, but this is now being developed further in order to offer limited top speeds in a range of driving circumstances and technology that can adapt to who is driving the car.
Tools like Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control not only maintain a default speed set by the driver but also use a system of built-in sensors and radar to proactively monitor the traffic.
If it senses the traffic slowing on the road up ahead, it will decelerate to maintain a certain distance from vehicles in front, in a continuous loop of immediate feedback. Once the traffic clears, the car automatically speeds back up to a pre-set maximum.
Stay In Your Lane
We have all seen been driving behind a car on the freeway that doesn’t seem to be able to keep in their lane. This could be because the driver is tired, or simply not focusing on the road (texting and driving?), or because they are too drunk and shouldn’t be driving. DUI is a still a serious problem in 2018 resulting in injuries and death (more info on DUIs)
Technology can lend a helping hand there too and assist with unintentional drifting across lanes, or switching lanes without signaling. Intelligent cars have developed lane-keeping technology to help avoid this major cause of road accidents.
There are two ways this can help- in an ‘Alert’ mode, where lights or vibrations sent via the steering wheel will alert the driver if lane creep is occurring. There is also an ‘Auto’ mode, where the car takes over the steering when drifting happens and provides assistance to guide the driver back into the correct lane.
A Better View
Obstacle avoidance is another major road safety issue that technology is combating.
Blind spot monitoring technology can alert drivers to other road users passing where they cannot normally see them, something that is immensely useful in particular for HGV’s, which have larger blind spots and slower reactive times. Motorcyclist and cyclist are small and motorist often do not see them when changing lanes. By having Bling Sport Monitoring, the driver is alerted with a light on the left and right mirror if there is anyone in the bling spot.
Breaking For You
We are seeing Forward Collision Warning systems becoming more popular. These use the networked sensors around the vehicle to detect conditions that mean a crash is imminent. In this case, instead of just alerting the driver, the system apply the brakes automatically and tightens the passenger seat belts to prevent the collision.
Telematics And The Big Data Story
Telematics companies are bridging the gap between human drivers and driverless cars by using intelligent systems to help drivers proactively develop safer habits.
Onboard diagnostics have become a standard tool in the motor insurance industry to monitor and educate drivers about choice from the speed of acceleration to seatbelt usage.
Being able to tap into a wider network, each vehicle contributes to the greater system sending information about accidents or dangerous road conditions, or traffic jams. This helps transport authorities to make more informed decisions in planning and repair as well as traffic management.
Even the physical condition of the roads themselves are getting smarter. ‘Smart cement’ can monitor the performance of the structures, roads, and bridges in real-world conditions and provide more accurate assessment of any weaknesses before they develop into disaster. This allows governments to deploy their repair teams to proactively repair a section of the road before it turns into a much bigger problem.