Between 94% and 96% of all vehicle accidents are caused by human error, reports The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), indicating the extent to which a greater reliance on life-saving technologies can help improve road safety rates. The main causes of road accidents – including distracted driving, speeding, DUIs, and poor visibility – are all being addressed by car manufacturers across the globe. Below you will find just a few innovations aimed at making the road a safer, more dependable, and pleasurable place to drive.
Airbags are normally placed at the front and side of the driver, but one airbag that is increasingly being seen in vehicles by brands like Toyota, Mazda, Buick and Chevrolet, are central airbags that provide cushioning between the driver and the front passenger. These airbags essentially protect a person when a side impact occurs on the side opposite to them, reducing the chance of head trauma and other types of injuries. Indeed, central airbags are now a feature car buyers are valuing highly, alongside other standard safety features such as tire pressure monitoring systems, automatic headlights, and lane assist features.
Live Blind Spot Video Feeds
Kia’s blind spot system won the Autoblog 2020 Technology of the Year thanks to its combination of blind spot monitoring and active blind spot crash avoidance on its 2020 Kia Telluride model. The system displays a live camera feed of either the left or right blind spot in the central digital part of the gauge cluster. If this fails, the blind spot collision avoidance system comes into action to prevent a crash. As the approaching vehicle is detected to be too close to your car, the system applies the brakes to the opposite side of your vehicle, effectively dragging the vehicle back into your original lane.
This technology was developed to protect cyclists and pedestrians. Around 5,977 pedestrians are killed by car injuries every year, and there are around 137,000 who are treated in emergency departments for non-fatal accidents. Pedestrian detection systems use a combination of radar sensors and cameras to identify cyclists and pedestrians. The system alerts the driver if a person is in their way, but also engages the brakes automatically to prevent a collision.
In-Car Augmented Reality
In-car AR is one of the hottest technologies about, with marques such as BMW leading the way to produce digital heads-up displays which project onto your car’s windscreen. The screen looks completely clear as always, except that it presents hazard warnings (as it can detect people on the road at a 50m distance). It also gives the driver navigation directions, which enable you to arrive exactly where you need to, reducing tension on the road and avoiding sudden U-turns and other maneuvers that could result in an accident.
Self-driving cars are being touted as the ultimate way to improve road safety, but there are already a bevy of safety features that are being applied by current car manufacturers. These include central airbags, live blind spot video feeds, pedestrian detection, and in-car augmented reality. The latter is a particularly dynamic, engaging way to keep your eyes on the road while having access to a wealth of useful information that can help prevent crashes and reduce the stress of driving.