Technology has advanced safety for drivers on the road through different safety devices like blind-spot warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. In 2016, such safety systems were proven to be able to prevent nearly two million crashes per year, or 29% (Svancara 1). These advanced systems continue to improve as technology advances each year. Safety in vehicles is the most important aspect of a vehicle, therefore, it’s important to have the proper safety technology in order to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Many modern day vehicles come equipped with tons of safety features, but one feature that is very important to the safety of vehicles on the road is a system called blind-spot monitoring. According to The Foundation for Traffic Safety, 318,000 motor vehicle crashes were prevented because of the safety of blind-spot warning systems (Svancara 1). A blind-spot monitoring system is a warning system that signals another vehicle driving within your blind-spot beside you. There is typically a small, bright light in the corner of your vehicle’s side-view mirrors that will turn on when the sensors inside of the rear bumper and side doors detect a vehicle driving beside you. Also, if you turn your turn signal on to switch lanes while a car is beside you, some cars will sound a warning in order to further warn you. This system was designed to help drivers avoid turning into another vehicle and/or driving another vehicle off of the road while trying to switch lanes. According to J.D. Power, blind-spot monitoring systems work by using radar and ultrasonic sensors located inside the left and right sides of the rear bumpers, sensors built within each door, and cameras in the side-view mirror housings to detect vehicles within their monitored areas (Choksey 1). Since this system was introduced, it has proven how important it is for the safety of all drivers.
As technology continues to create a safer environment for drivers on the road, a system called pedestrian-detection is another feature that has saved thousands of lives since it was introduced. According to a consumer report by Motor Biscuit, pedestrian-detection works using a combination of cameras, radar and lidar sensors. These systems monitor a vehicle’s surroundings and allow the driver and car to react appropriately. The cameras look for objects in the path of the car, and some look for people that may cross in front of the vehicle. The radar sends a radio wave out and measures the time it takes to bounce off an object and return (Rich 1). In doing so, the vehicle will warn the driver through a visual on the gauge cluster and/or sound a warning signal to make the driver aware. Many vehicles will even automatically stop themselves before hitting the person or object. Pedestrian-detection systems are an excellent feature to have in your vehicle no matter where you drive most, but it can be very important if you live near highly populated areas, large towns, or cities. A system like this can save a pedestrian or the driver from serious injury or death. In fact, in 2017, the United States Department of Transportation did a study on how effective these systems were. This study found that these systems can potentially reduce up to 5,000 vehicle-pedestrian crashes and 810 fatal vehicle-pedestrian crashes per year. These crashes account for 8 percent of crashes where cars strike a pedestrian and 24 percent of the same crash types where fatalities are involved (The Volpe Team 1). As technology grows stronger, pedestrian-detection systems will continue to advance for the future of our safety.
Beginning in the early 2000s, the automotive industry introduced automatic emergency braking systems to high-end luxury vehicles, but these systems have since reached all types of different vehicles today. By definition, according to J.D. Power, an automatic-braking system is a safety system that can identify when a possible collision is about to occur and responds by autonomously activating the brakes to slow a vehicle prior to impact or bring it to a stop to avoid a collision (Wardlaw 1). This system typically operates using a laser sensor, typically located at the top of your windshield, or a combination of cameras and sensors on the front bumper and windshield to detect an object or vehicle. It’s also commonly incorporated along with a pedestrian-detection system, which will warn the driver that he or she is approaching a pedestrian or small object. The automatic-braking system will then stop the vehicle as it becomes closer to that pedestrian or small object. When this technology first entered into the automotive industry, it was mainly only operational at lower speeds. For example, when Mazda first began incorporating this technology in their vehicles, it could only brake the vehicle at a speed of 18 miles per hour or below to prevent a collision (Wardlaw 1). Although, as technology has advanced over the course of the past years, most automatic braking systems operate at any speed, including Mazda. Not only is this technology featured for frontward collisions, there’s also a similar system in the rear-end of many vehicles, typically referred to as rear-cross traffic avoidance. Just as a forward-collision avoidance system, a rear-cross traffic avoidance system most commonly uses sensors located inside of the vehicle’s bumper in combination with the vehicle’s rear-vision camera. When this system detects a car approaching from the rear, in a situation such as backing out of a parking space or your driveway for example, the vehicle will create an alarming sound and display a message to alert the driver. If the driver continues to back up and approach a vehicle or object closer, it will automatically stop the vehicle to avoid an accident. These systems have made a tremendous difference in the safety of everyday driving. In a study conducted by The Foundation for Traffic Safety, it was determined that forward-collision warning systems and automatic-braking systems prevented 1,994,000 crashes in 2016, which makes up 29% of motor vehicle crashes. In addition, these safety systems are responsible for preventing 4,738 deaths caused by frontward collisions (Svancara 1). As technology continues to advance, the safety systems in modern vehicles will grow stronger to protect individuals and families from tragedy.
Technology plays a very important role in vehicles today. Safety in vehicles is the most important aspect, and modern technology allows drivers protection and confidence against the possibilities of a harmful or fatal accident. Technology has advanced safety for drivers on the road through different safety devices like blind-spot warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking. Without modern technology, motor-vehicle accidents would continue to be unpreventable in some circumstances, creating rising numbers in accidents and fatalities each year. Technology will always continue to grow and prosper to create a safer future for everybody on the road.
Choksey, Jessica Shea. “What Is a Blind-Spot Monitor?” J.D. Power, 10 Aug. 2021, https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/what-is-a-blind-spot-monitor.
Rich, Maeve. “Pedestrian Detection Technology: What You Need to Know.” MotorBiscuit, 5 June 2021, https://www.motorbiscuit.com/pedestrian-detection-technology-need-know/.
Svancara, Austin M., et al. “Potential Reduction in Crashes, Injuries and Deaths from Large-Scale Deployment of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 26 Sept. 2018, https://aaafoundation.org/potential-reduction-in-crashes-injuries-and-deaths-from-large-scale-deployment-of-advanced-driver-assistance-systems/.
The Volpe Team. “How Effective Are Pedestrian Detection Systems in Cars?” How Effective Are Pedestrian Detection Systems in Cars? | Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, U.S. Department of Transportation, 13 July 2017, https://www.volpe.dot.gov/news/how-effective-are-pedestrian-detection-systemsincars#:~:text=The%20Volpe%20team%20found%20that%20PCAM%20systems%20can%20potentially%20reduce,types%20where%20fatalities%20were%20involved.
Wardlaw, Christian. “What Is Automatic Emergency Braking?” J.D. Power, 5 Aug. 2021, https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/what-is-automatic-emergency-braking.