Smart Technology Improving Driving Safety
Every year, nearly 1.3 million people are killed in automobile crashes every year, averaging 3,287 deaths per day. In addition, 20-50 million are injured or disabled due to road crashes. Traffic accidents are the ninth leading cause of death around the world, accounting for 2 % of all deaths.
The good news is that innovative new technology is helping to curb these grim statistics; forward-thinking automobile industry leaders are taking note of these advances and working to integrate them into existing designs.
Distracted driving is a major concern, particularly in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives and an additional 391,000 people were injured in 2016. Many distracted driving accidents are a result of drivers using cellphones while driving, creating an enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teenagers are the largest demographic that report being distracted when involved in a fatal crash.
While distracted driving continues to be a growing problem, promising developments, gadgets and trends are helping to make the road a safer place to travel. Here are 7 smart road technological innovations that are making the roads a safer place to travel.
- Smart pavement
Smart pavement uses prefabricated concrete embedded with digital technology and fiber optics. These interlocking slabs are able to sense the weight, position and speed of vehicles in technology that is similar to the touchpad on a laptop.
These sensors allow the system to detect an accident and alert emergency responders. Smart roads will be able to interact with autonomous vehicles directly, sharing information such as delivering real-time traffic conditions. Smart roads will be upgradable, making them usable for a long time in the future. Smart devices will be able to access wifi through the road, meaning drivers will always have access, even in remote places.
- Wireless charging
In the future, roads will be smarter when it comes to alternative energy. The system will use wireless technology to charge a vehicle’s batteries while in motion. Because of this technology, vehicles will require minimal storage capacity, reducing the cost of batteries and greatly reducing the cost of electric vehicles.
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
More cities are using artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision to create an AI-powered camera traffic system. This system will use sensors covering a 50-square mile area to detect traffic patterns and use traffic lights to clear bottlenecks. The cameras will also be able to clear the path for emergency services, public transportation and even bicyclists. AI-powered camera systems can reduce travel time by 25 percent, including a 40 percent reduction in wait time at intersections. The system will eventually allow connected cars to talk directly to traffic signals so that the vehicle can adjust its speed or route for efficient travel.
- Smart roads
Smart roads will be built out of a transparent material that will allow sunlight to reach solar cells that will be able to provide electricity to power highway lights and 800 homes. Embedded sensors will be able to monitor traffic-related data, such as weather patterns, temperature and vehicle flow. And, as discussed above, smart phones will allow wireless charging to charge electric vehicles while they drive.
- Speed-detection cameras
The use of speed-detection cameras is on the rise as they prove to play an important role in improving roadway safety. While some people feel that speed-detection cameras are an intrusion into our freedom, the data shows that they work. On average, speed-detection cameras have been shown to reduce road fatalities by 20 percent and injuries by 10 percent.
- Intelligent road studs
Road studs made out of LED lights will light up when traffic lights turn from red to green, and when they turn back to green from red. This will enable drivers to see which lanes to follow and when they need to slow down.
- Autonomous car features
While there is still some time before fully autonomous cars will be the norm, new technology is getting us closer to that day. Today’s autonomous car features include:
- Advanced cruise control
- Lane departure warnings
- Automatic parallel parking
- Sensors that detect objects and initiate braking.
Everyone wants to be safer while driving. Technology is improving at a rapid rate and that includes technology specifically applied to make roads safer. Insurance companies, government organizations and policymakers all need to work together to adopt technologies that will truly make a difference by reducing the number of friends and loved ones who are hurt or killed in an auto accident.
Transportation and logistics firms turn to Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) to analyze the issues facing their industry and find tailored programs to help them manage their risk. With over 100 years of combined transportation industry experience helps MMA professionals understand and address specific challenges within the industry.
Contact us here to learn more about how our innovative programs can make a difference for your organization.