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New Technology In Development To Save Lives On The Road

The number of road deaths in the UK has remained stable at around 1,850 annually since 2012, and although figures for serious injuries have slightly declined, around 25,000 take place every year. These deaths and injuries are mostly preventable, with both improved driver behaviour and new road safety technology being a key to making a true difference in their frequency. What are some new technological developments that may soon significantly reduce the devastating effects of road accidents and crashes?

New Biometrics Systems

Luxury firms like Mercedes-Benz are relying on sophisticated biometrics systems to detect information such as breathing rate and pulse to determine if the driver is alert enough to remain on the road. Mercedes-Benz’s system is called Vision ATVR, and it can also assess the wellbeing of children in the rear, showing displays for parents so they can see what their kids are up to without having to turn their head and take their eyes off the road. The parents’ pulse is replicated via lighting patterns on the back of their seats, to give passengers “a sense of connectedness and security.” Israeli company, Eyesight Technologies, meanwhile, uses sensitive camera tech to analyse the movement of a driver’s facial movements (think yawning, blinking, and shutting the eyes). The safety system sends alerts to tired drivers to get off the road and get some rest before continuing.

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LIDAR Sensors For Road Analysis

In the UK, most accidents occur in big cities, with London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester topping the list. As stated by road accident and injury experts FVF Law, a large percentage of city accidents take place at intersections, owing to factors such as failing to stop at red lights, inattentive driving, speeding, and design and maintenance problems in roads themselves. Serious accidents can ensue from objects such as improper inclines or declines, water pooling, and fixed hazards such as guardrails. One way to reduce problems in intersections is the use of LIDAR sensors and cameras, which allow traffic control to detect and map the movement of all road users through a specific area. It detects all crashes and near misses in real time. In the future, it will be used to send warnings to connected vehicles and help governments design intersections more efficiently.

Smart Headlights

When you are driving on a dark road, large vehicles (e.g. trucks) driving in the opposite direction can temporarily blind you to what is occurring on the road. Illumination can be improved vastly via smart or adaptive headlights, which use pixelated light sources, cameras, sensors, and special software to direct a vehicle’s high beams, while eliminating glare from other vehicles. Future headlights will swivel, shine brighter, and react quicker. Adaptive lighting essentially turns some parts of the headlight off when oncoming traffic is detected, but keeps the surroundings illuminated so drivers can clearly see what is taking place on the road.

New technology is stepping in to reduce the likelihood of road accidents, way before autonomous cars are a reality. Just a few top technologies promising to help include biometric systems, LIDAR systems for roads, and smart headlights. The idea of car connectivity is another big advance that will enable sensors to not only detect problems, but also warn drivers of the likelihood of a crash.

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