What do you consider to be the most important inventions of all time? Many people would answer the car. It’s undeniably an invention that has had a significant impact on our lives. It gave us more personal freedom and access to more jobs and services. Better roads and transportation were developed because of it, and the demand for auto parts and fuel has led to new industries and new jobs.
Cars have indispensable to most people. If you own a car, chances are you drive it every day. But, as you know, this does come with some inherent risks.
Thankfully, in the decades since driving a car has become a given, engineers and manufacturers have been working on making it safer. Technologies like rearview cameras, lane sensors and auto-brake systems make driving in the 21st century a much safer experience.
We often hear about how technology makes driving more dangerous because it makes it more tempting to multi-task instead of focusing on the road. But technology can also make driving safer. We’ve gone a long way from anti-lock brakes and airbags. Cars on today’s market have far more effective safety features.
Collision control sensors, lane change sensors and even tire pressure sensors are all part of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which monitor the vehicle’s surroundings.
These sensors increase safety because they allow both the car and the driver to better predict a potential accident. Additionally, they provide critical proactive maintenance by warning the driver if any issues require repair or correction.
Cars are being equipped with cutting-edge cameras that provide a 360-degree view to aid in proper parking and navigation through blind intersections.
Any obscured objects that could be missed owing to the driver’s angle are easily verified, preventing the accidents that would otherwise occur.
Keep in mind that these safety sensors are there to assist you, but that doesn’t mean you no longer need to pay attention when you’re behind the wheel.
As we’ve mentioned in the introduction, safety technology reduces the risk of an accident, but it doesn’t eliminate it. If you are involved in an accident as a result of distracted driving, you should be aware of the legal implications, which you can learn about at UKLaw.co.uk.
Auto High-Beam Headlights
Another safety feature that all drivers would appreciate is automatic control of high-beam lights. On highways, high beams endanger the lives of drivers approaching from the opposite direction.
Auto high-beam headlights can mitigate that risk by adjusting according to the surroundings. There’s a digital camera mounted on the inside rearview mirror that can detect if there are vehicles ahead. If so, it will return to low beams until the vehicle passes.
Pedestrian Detection and Tracking with Night Vision
Pedestrian detection with night vision, featured on the 2000 Cadillac DeVille, can prevent night-time accidents caused by limited vision. At night, human vision loses accuracy and clarity, making objects or persons more difficult to identify when driving.
Motion patterns, background subtraction and pattern classifiers are some of the techniques used to develop computer vision systems that can detect people and objects.
This technology uses an infrared camera to show pedestrians on the dashboard’s navigation display. Infrared cameras are ideal for this system because people’s bodies will appear brighter than their surroundings.
Phone Safety Features
Cell phones are a major contributor to distracted driving, which is one of the leading causes of car accidents. The simplest solution to this problem is to leave your phone well out of reach or switched off while you’re driving. However, sometimes you need it to navigate or have an emergency, and staying on the line is imperative. Plus, many drivers are prone to underestimating the risk of distracted driving.
This is why vehicle and phone manufacturers are teaming up to design technologies that make everyone on the road safe. For example, they employ voice-activated technology, so your eyes remain away from your phone and on the road.
Blind Spot Monitoring
By combining sensors and digital camera technology, blind spot detection systems (BDS) detect vehicles approaching from adjacent lanes on both sides of your car and alert you via audible or visual signals. This makes it much easier and safer to change lanes because they help reduce the risk of colliding with vehicles you cannot see.
This type of technology used to be reserved for massive tractor-trailer combinations, but it is now becoming more common in passenger cars as well.
A forward collision warning system (FCW) is a sophisticated technological tool that allows your car to monitor its own speed, as well as the speed of the car ahead of you and their distance from each other.
The FCW will warn you if the gap between the two cars becomes too narrow due to speed differences so that you can avoid a potential collision.
Note that this type of technology will not assume complete control of your vehicle. You will be to react to the audio and visual warning signal accordingly.
Emergency communications systems enable drivers to quickly reach emergency operators and make getting roadside assistance and other services fast and straightforward.
Automatic crash notification (ACN) is another sophisticated safety feature that notifies emergency responders of a collision and provides information regarding the location.
In the event of an abrupt deceleration or airbag deployment, the system will automatically connect to an emergency call operator, who can then talk to the passengers. Additionally, it can collect basic vehicle information and forward it to emergency operators without requiring passenger input.
That’s extremely useful in situations when the driver is unconscious because the faster they get help from emergency medical services, the lower the risk of permanent impairment or death.
In rural locations, for instance, there are often fewer witnesses who can contact emergency services, and the sooner victims receive emergency medical attention and are transferred to a hospital, the better.
Drowsiness Detection System
Driver fatigue is responsible for about a fifth of all traffic accidents. Drowsiness detection systems can reduce that rate by employing algorithms that record steering behaviour patterns.
It can then detect signs such as periods when the driver is hardly steering, followed by rapid moves to keep the vehicle on course. It also uses body sensors to assess skin conductance and heart rate while a camera monitors the driver’s face. The information gathered is used to evaluate the driver’s level of alertness.