Technology That Can Prevent Car Accidents
While we may not have gotten to the level of George Jetson and the flying car, there is still some amazing technology in modern motor vehicles, including some fascinating advances designed to help prevent car accidents.
David Lewis, a writer for Rhino Car Hire, talks about some of these new technologies in a recent blog post, including this one from Volvo:
Volvo has tested an auto-braking system which ensures a car stops when another car comes too close. In tests this eliminated all accidents between the cars but relies on all cars having the technology. The system operates by using GPS to plot the changing positions of other vehicles in the vicinity and calculating potential for crashes.
A brilliant idea, but one dependent, as Lewis points out, on every car having it as a standard feature. By nature, it will not work with cars that are not on the same system, so immediate market penetration would be required in order to realize any benefit from the device.
There are many other safety systems starting to appear on showroom floors already. Jeff Gelles, a business columnist for The Philadelphia Enquirer, has a great roundup of some of these in his recent column, “High Tech For All: Safety Innovations Steer into The Mainstream.” Here are some of the technolgies we have to look forward to:
- Lane Departure Warnings — A number of systems have been out for a few years, but it will become more of a standard feature in the coming year. Look for them in Volvo, Audi, Cadillac, Saab, Buick, Nissan, and Hyundai models for 2011.
- Blind Spot Warnings — Systems that provide a visual or tactile warning when a vehicle is detected in your car’s blind spot. Many of these involve the use of a rear-facing camera.
- Active Park Assist — An automated parallel parking system coming from Ford motors, one the company claims is a vast improvement over the one introduced a few years ago for its luxury model, the Lexus.
- Frontal Collision Warnings — Lewis reports that over 40 models on the road already have these, including one system (Volvo’s) actually includes pedestrian detection.
How much could these driving safety innovations affect the number of accidents that occur across the U.S.? Possibly quite a bit. Lewis provides some estimated figures for the lane-departure warning systems:
Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute, says the organization estimates that lane-departure warnings in all cars could prevent or mitigate about 179,000 crashes a year, including 37,000 that cause injuries and 7,500 that cause deaths – an astonishing figure, equal to nearly one in four of the 33,808 U.S. traffic fatalities in 2009.
If these numbers are even remotely accurate, then we should hope that these innovations become standard features as soon as possible, as they could drastically reduce the number of car crashes, and accident-related injuries and fatalities.