The number of car crashes has risen significantly in the past few years. In 2022, there were 42,795 car crash fatalities in the US alone, an average of 117 individuals daily. About 90% of these accidents were a result of human error. These alarming numbers have prompted an acceleration in technological solutions to reduce car accidents. In this article, we’ll look into automated technologies that are surfacing and examine how they’ll reshape driving practices and prevent car accidents.
Automated Technologies for Driving Safety
Since Henry Ford invented the Model T in 1896, car technologies have come a long way. GPS, rear-view cameras, and airbags have been around for a while. Companies are now incorporating newer impending collision detection systems such as ADAS and other sensor-based systems to detect driver behavior. Autonomous cars are also becoming popular to reduce human driving errors.
1. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
About 50% of all new cars now come with ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. ADAS is a set of technologies to make the driving and road experience safer. They leverage cameras, sensors, radars, and other emerging technologies to analyze the car’s environment. They detect potential hazards and accident risk factors and issue warnings accordingly.
Three of the top features of ADAS include enhanced vehicle control, driver monitoring, and emergency braking. The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) feature automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed if it’s too close to another one. It can accelerate, decelerate, or stop a car if need be, which makes long drives less accident-prone.
ADAS also has a lane-detection system that helps keep cars in their lane and issues a warning if the car drifts out of its lane. In some newer cars, the system automatically adjusts the vehicle back in its lane if the driver ignores the warning.
It further detects distracted or impaired driving behaviors, such as fatigue, distraction, and alcohol or drug use. These technologies use Bluetooth or camera-assisted sensors to detect the movement of the driver’s eyes and head and determine the level of drowsiness. Fleet managers are also incorporating this technology to reduce trucking accidents at night. The driver is alerted or warned via sound, light, or other notifications.
2. Self-driving vehicles
With automation features on the rise, autonomous cars are becoming the talk of the town as they help eliminate human error. Some vehicles already have an ‘autopilot’ feature now, which lets the driver put the car on a self-driving mode if necessary.
Technologies such as 3D and 4D LiDAR are in the works to make autonomous car driving more reliable. These technologies use invisible lasers to detect the position, dimensions, and velocity of any object near the vehicle and calibrate the car’s speed accordingly.
However, these systems are not yet sophisticated enough: 2022 saw 400 crashes of partially to fully automated vehicles where the driver depended too much on auto-pilot. However, the technological advancement in the car industry is increasing exponentially. We may see more dependable self-driving vehicles on the roads sooner.
Technology-Associated Driving Risks
Just as technology can reduce car accidents by diminishing human error, it can also cause an increase. While not directly, technologies like smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems can distract drivers and make their cars accident-prone.
About 660,000 individuals use their cell phones while driving, although this does not always lead to car accidents; they distract the driver and make them more accident-prone. So, traffic police must enforce stricter laws to prevent cell phone use while driving. Another option is to incorporate a warning system in ADAS for when the driver is on their phone.
In-vehicle infotainments provide both information and entertainment for the driver. While this helps keep the driver awake and alert during long drives, large built-in screens for entertainment purposes could be distracting. These are just a few examples of how technology use can go wrong. But modifications can help mitigate these effects.
Integrating technology into the car accident realm is changing how the world looks at road safety. ADAS, autonomous vehicles, telematics, blind-spot detection, driver monitoring, and much more are now being incorporated into newer cars to make the driving experience safer for individuals and reduce yearly road accident fatalities. While these systems provide decent levels of assistance, it’s vital to prevent any technology misuse and educate drivers on why compliance with these systems, and road safety rules in general, is essential. By combining technological advancement and human responsibility towards road safety, we can reduce road accidents significantly in the coming years.
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