How Tech is Developing Intelligent, Safer Transportation Systems

The use of technology to make roads safer couldn’t have come at a better time because despite there being thousands of safety driving campaigns and ads, car users attribute to 44% of road deaths in the United Kingdom. Breaking it down, most of these deaths are as a result of improper driver behaviour, or unroadworthy vehicles. Increased population growth in cities whose jurisdictions lack enough space and funds to build more roads is another rising concern. This is because many people nowadays prefer to invest in buying a car rather than using public transport. Luckily, technology has risen to the occasion. In a bid to redefine mobility for the coming century, automobile companies are partnering with tech giants such as Google, to create cars that promote safer driving despite the driver’s behaviour. Additionally, not only do technologically advanced cars make roads safer by preventing accidents, they are convenient, they optimize the utilization of road through real-time traffic management and they also double down on environmental impacts of driving. So, which are these tech advancements and how exactly do they work?

Attention Monitoring Systems

Most cars manufactured within the last 5 years come fitted with a camera on the rear view mirror alongside other monitoring systems. These attention monitoring systems work in three ways. One, the camera records the driver’s behaviour and sends it to a computer for analysis. The computer then analyses the recording in order to determine whether the driver is fit to drive. This is done through monitoring things such as excessive blinking which indicate fatigue or drowsiness. Should the analysis system spot any sign of this, it prompts the driver to break, relax first or get a coffee. This is to promote the importance of safe driving which helps save lives and money.

The money aspect comes in this way. Upon buying a new car, one has to get car insurance. If you have been paying this insurance and have not been in an accident, you are entitled to a No Claim Discount at the end of the year. This NCD is literally payment for driving safely. Safer driving also equals zero accidents which translates to zero repair costs. Secondly, some cars come fitted with a breathalyser which analyses if the driver is drunk. Unless the readings recorded on the breathalyser are right, the ITS automatically stops the car from starting. Thirdly, these attention monitoring systems record your car’s position within the lanes. In case you are frequently drifting off your lane, you will be advised to stop and take a break first.

New Lighting Systems

Out with the standard, driver dazzling headlights and in with new active environmentally adaptive headlights. Thanks to technological advances, modern day cars are fitted with headlights that adjust with the driver’s environment. Say for example you are navigating a corner, standard headlights only illuminate straight ahead right? Well, active headlights have electronic sensors which are in sync with the steering and therefore light the road depending on the direction of the car! Additionally, when you are driving and there is a driver in front of you on the opposite lane, the left side of the headlights’ beam dim in brightness so as to avoid dazzling the other driver. The same phenomenon happens when overtaking, only instead of the headlights’ left side dimming in brightness the central part does.

Adaptive Cruise Control

The adaptive cruise control works through sensors such as radar and a camera, both fitted in the rearview mirror. Its function is to prevent accidents by keeping a safe distance between your car and the one in front of it. In case you get too close to the car ahead or it suddenly brakes, the adaptive cruise control automatically slows down or stops if necessary. Once a safe distance is reestablished, the cruise control automatically restarts. By studying the road, the adaptive cruise control helps to avoid accidents even in incidences of overspeeding. Some of the cars fitted with adaptive cruise control include the Volvo XC90, the 2017 Honda Civic and the Volkswagen Golf series.

Technology in the automobile industry has not only made the environment safer through the emergence of alternative fuels; electric cars. It has also made driving safer, more efficient and more convenient. True to Bill Ford’s words in the 2014 ITS World Congress, automobile companies, together with Silicon Valley giants have redefined mobility.

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