Friday, December 12, 2014

News: Improving road safety through technology

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In the past year, we have seen announcements of research into a large number of different new technologies intended to make our roadways safer for all users. Everything from car-to-car communications, which would allow vehicles on the road to be able to talk to each other to help avoid accidents, to pedestrian safety technology, with improved capability to recognize pedestrian and cyclists to avoid crashes, to self driving cars. All of this technology is intended to help drivers avoid crashes with each other as well as other road users.

Early versions of some of the technology have already started to trickle into higher end versions of normal passenger vehicles. Volvo's City Safety suite, which includes automatic braking, pedestrian detection, and cyclist detection, is already available on most of Volvo's current line-up as standard equipment. Subaru has added EyeSight, which offers a mixture of adaptive cruise control along with collision prevention systems, as an option on many of its larger vehicles and is likely to expand it to more of the line-up as they are updated to be able to accommodate the technology. Honda has taken things even further and is actually looking to include technology that can not only detect and stop, but even steer the car to avoid a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist. While these technologies are a great back-up, they should never be treated as a replacement for an attentive driver.

As cars continue to advance, the emergence and adoption of these technologies will become a bigger part of the driving experience. In time, they will start to adapt and be available in more portable formats so that pedestrians and cyclists can be accounted for digitally as well, allowing for scenarios where a driver will be aware of a cyclist long before he can see them and the cyclist will be alerted to the presence of a vehicle closing in from behind. There is no doubt that this kind of technical innovation will increase the safety for all road users, but only if we make them an integral part of a larger transportation infrastructure that creates safe environments for everyone.

To learn more about the various technologies, click on the source links below.

Source Links:
Car-to-car communications
Pedestrian safety technology
Tesla's Autopilot technology

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