Hosted by road safety charity, Brake, the 2023 campaign for Road Safety Week highlights that five people lose their lives on UK roads every day due to speeding incidents, and that every time we driver faster than the speed limit or too fast for the legal road conditions, we increase the risk of an accident.
Latest advancements in automotive technology have led the vehicles of today to be the safest we have ever known, so what better time to deep dive into these advancements than in the run up to Road Safety Week between November 19th-25th.
This year’s 2023 campaign theme is: let’s talk about speed, so we’re looking at the top automotive technologies out there today which are all working to help keep our roads, drivers and users as safe as possible.
Let’s begin with…
Blind spot detection
Particularly when travelling at high speeds on the motorway, changing lanes whilst driving can be dangerous, as any time spent looking around to check your blind spot means that for a fraction of a second, your eyes are not on the road ahead.
This is where Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) systems come into play. It’s technology which is fitted to many modern vehicles, and is capable of warning the driver when another vehicle is in their blind spot.
Typically, they operate through a series of external sensors positioned on a vehicle’s bumpers and wing mirrors, which enable them to detect if a person or vehicle enters a blind spot. At this point, an audible or visual cue will alert the driver, making them aware that the situation is not safe, and they need to take extra care.
Dashcams powered by Artificial Intelligence
With a mission to transform road safety by using advanced vision technology, vehicle dashcam provider, Netradyne aims to change the way drivers interact with the road around them, creating a safe driving culture for all road users.
It’s powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), and uses facial recognition technology to assess drivers, identifying when they’re not giving their full attention to the road ahead. If signals of distracted driving are picked up, an audio alert will notify the driver, giving them chance to correct the behaviour and lower the chances of an accident.
But the latest news on these advanced cams?
They are currently being used in one of the biggest fleets in the world today; Amazon.
Now installed in all of its delivery vans, the technology is used to actively monitor driver behaviour to create a safe driving culture across Amazon. The results so far have proven that Amazon were able to reduce collisions by a third and improve driver behaviour, so much so that they’re already being rolled out across Amazon’s delivery service partner programme (DPS) fleet too.
Automatic emergency braking
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is a safety feature which automatically prevents a collision. It will soon be standard on all new cars, and Thatcham Research have described AEB as being one of the most important road safety advances of recent years since the introduction of seat belts.
According to Thatcham, AEB could save an astonishing 1100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next 10 years, and it’s already been proven to drastically reduce collisions where, for example, a 2015 study by The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) and Australasian NCAP found that fitting vehicles with AEB led to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes.
Likewise, a study of 104 crashes from researchers at the University of Adelaide also found that AEB could have reduced fatal collisions by 20-25% and the likelihood of injury by 25–30%.
The technology behind AEB systems works so well because it uses sensors to detect obstacles ahead and assess whether a collision is likely. The system will then start by warning the driver, using a dashboard message or an audible alarm, that a collision is likely and that they need to brake. If the driver fails to act, the automatic or ‘autonomous’ part of the system will kick in and apply the brakes automatically.
What’s more, the more basic AEB systems work at low speeds to prevent or reduce the severity of minor urban collisions, where more sophisticated systems work across a wider speed range, so they protect against more serious accidents where there is the potential for severe injury or death. The very best systems, however, can detect cyclists and pedestrians as well as cars.
The wider ADAS systems
AEB technologies are also part of a further offering; Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
ADAS systems have developed rapidly in recent years, thanks in part to sensing technology such as cameras, radar and laser technology referred to as lidar.
Technologies also include Lane Keep Assist (LKA) which helps the driver to stay in their lane by either turning the steering wheel or engaging the brakes on one side of the vehicle, as well as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) which helps a driver keep within speed limits by warning when the limit is exceeded or by actively reducing the vehicle’s speed.
Manufacturers such as Peugeot, Audi, BMW and Porsche, now fit night vision assistance to their vehicles. These technologies use a thermal image camera which is integrated into the grille, designed to spot ‘warm’ objects ahead which would otherwise be hidden from view in the dark. They’re particularly clever at picking out cyclists, pedestrians and animals as far as 200 metres ahead, or beyond the scope of the headlights, and display an image in the digital display ahead of the driver to avoid any accidental collisions.
And finally, self-driving vehicles
According to the Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, launching self-driving technology in vehicles across the UK puts the country “once more at the forefront of innovation.”
He adds that “the latest advanced driver assistance systems make driving smoother and easier, but they can also make roads safer by reducing scope for driver error,” though it’s always important to remember that unfortunately, technology isn’t a silver bullet – it still needs to be used carefully and moderately.
The key to successfully adopting any new technology will always be proper training, and particularly for the fleet industry, it’s so important to be clear and transparent with drivers about what it means for them.
After all, vehicles with self-driving technology will still require drivers to pay attention to the road, but the fact is that no hands-free tech will ever beat having a real-life human behind the wheel.
No matter what, safety is the top priority
At Egertons, we understand that not everything can be avoided. Accidents can happen to anyone, even if they have the most advanced technologies in their vehicles. What we can say with confidence, however, is that no matter what, we will always be there right when you need us.
That’s because we’re one of the UK’s leading vehicle rescue and recovery operators, with services stretching from breakdown recovery to specialist assistance, available 24/7/365 service across the country.
Our sophisticated triage process, supported by our 24-hour control room, 300-strong fleet, vast range of equipment available on hand and the technology it is equipped with, means that we’re able to help keep your vehicle downtime to an absolute minimum.
With Egertons, you make one call to our team; and we’ll do the rest.
We’re ready when you are. Every time.