Every day we are seeing the real-world application of technology. Smartphones are allowing us to stay connected anywhere in the world, digital currency is helping us make payments in more adaptive ways, and medical technologies are detecting diseases faster allowing for quicker treatment. With so much innovation around us, we often forget one of the biggest spaces for technological development - our vehicles.
Automotive technology is being rolled out in big and small ways, and sometimes unnoticeable too. Many of these innovative features are helping us drive with more safety, which makes the act of driving more enjoyable as well.
Here are some of the ways that we can see how technology has significantly improved road safety.
1. Braking Systems
Before it was the antilock braking system (ABS), but now its automatic emergency braking (AEB). With AEB, vehicles are able to detect speed and proximity to other objects, usually vehicles, and stop the vehicle without the need for driver intervention due to distraction or reaction time. These small kinds of innovations are taken for granted now, but the fact that a car can effectively stop itself to prevent accidents is making major improvements to road safety for all.
2. Cameras and Monitoring Devices
Cameras are also becoming commonplace amongst vehicles of all kinds. Consumer vehicles come with back-up cameras, side view cameras, in-cabin cameras, and plenty more to help give drivers a 360-degree view of their car, eliminating blindspot concerns. Even commercial vehicles are innovating, with Samsung announcing a transport trailer with a screen on the back that can allow for drivers to safely pass on highways, which would effectively reduce the cost of a truck accident and improve visibility. These kinds of cameras and monitoring devices are providing a comprehensive view of the surroundings of other vehicles and pedestrians.
3. Lane Detection
Drifting in and out of lanes is something everyone does inevitably, especially on the highway. It could be fatigue or unawareness of where the liens are marked, but it happens. This may seem innocent enough, but in tightly congested lanes in cities, it becomes a concern for sideswiping. Lane assist and lane detection technology are keeping drivers safely within their boundaries and allowing everyone to share the road peacefully.
4. Parking Assistance
Everyone likes to toot their own horn about their parallel parking skills, but soon those skills may become obsolete with the plethora of parking assist capabilities that future cars will have. Even now, the hands-free control of a vehicle to park itself snugly between two others on the side of a street with the help of cameras and sensors is taking the risk out of dinging someone’s bumper when trying to sneak into a cramped spot. This is surely a piece of driving technology that will only improve as car AI advances.
5. Hands-Free Heads Up Displays
We were always told not to use our phones while driving and to avoid distractions, but car manufacturers keep putting technology in our consoles and dashboards which seems to negate that concern. However, even with all the new bells and whistles, there is a lot of it that is trending in the right direction. In particular, the use of Bluetooth and hands-free voice-activated commands is allowing for heads-up displays in cars to maximize the use of GPS navigation and media player capabilities without the need for us to take our hands off of the wheel. Even though distracted driving is such a problem, the more we can implement this tech, the less of an issue it will be.
6. Adaptive Headlights
If you’ve ever driven on a highway or on any street in the pitch darkness of night and couldn’t see how the road changed ahead, you know how hard it is to navigate safely. Thankfully, adaptive headlights are changing the game by following the road, and not just the direction of your vehicle. Cornering at night but maintaining visibility is possible as the headlights will track the road. Your vehicle can be pointed straight, but the lights will angle to highlight your path. It’s a seemingly small innovation, but when driving at night and on unfamiliar or winding roads, it can help save lives.
The amount of technology packed into our vehicles today compared to just 5 years ago is immense. There are on-board CPUs and AI that can help provide us assistance, cameras to show us our surroundings, and headlights that move more fluidly, all of which are helping to make the roads safer for future generations of drivers.