Fact or Myth: Is your vehicle capable of avoiding all collisions?
There are car companies now setting cars with an extraordinary rate and with advanced motor safety devices. These are the world’s first uncrashable cars.
Can you imagine sitting behind the wheel as you cruise down the road a bank of sensors and computers monitoring you?
Well, if you happen to get distracted by a phone call while driving, tailgate the vehicle ahead, put on lipstick or try to speed excessively, the computer in these new set up cars will note your errant behavior and prevent you from meeting a road accident. If a deadly weapon like a gun for example will be pointed against you, likewise, the car will take evasive action.
You may also take your hands off the wheel while driving along the highway and your car will take over, thereby reducing your tension caused by high speed rate.
Yes, it would really sound amazing but things have changed so much with the help of technology. Thanks to this new inventions.. there are cars now with strong sensors especially when their about to lose control. Some of these advanced vehicles even have the ability to help the drivers apply brakes to keep themselves in a safe distance from the car in front. In other words, they are the ones manipulating the car. And if for instance the driver is a little drowsy, they’ll try to wake him up .
To cite some of the popular brands, Volkswagen is one that has a lane-departure warning system that will steer its cars back into their lanes if they begin to wander. Meanwhile, the Volvo XC60 can sense an imminent low-speed rear-end accident and bring itself to a stop before disaster strikes.
In the next few years, we could just imagine the next inventions to come… It’s incredible to see the cars who could be talking to us like what we see in some movies. As if the cars have feelings and would have the ability to make decisions until we reach our destinations.
In addition, Volvo, the company that brought the world the three-point safety belt, is one of several companies which took a lead in presenting cars that are nearly impossible to crash. It has gone further than most by declaring the ambitious goal that: “by 2020, no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo”. Not only this… the manufacturers are thinking of inventing cars that would also provide safety to the pedestrians as well. As if the cars would know at a distance if pedestrians are most likely going to be injured.
Volvo’s S60, which is due out next year, will introduce a radar and camera-based system that detects when a pedestrian steps in front of the car and applies full braking power. The company says the car would reduce the collision force by about 75% to prevent the risk of serious injury to a pedestrian. So, do you think this is possible to happen?
On the other hand, Toyota’s product planning manager, Peter Evans, is cautious about predicting dramatic reductions in the road toll in the next decade.
According to him, the difficulty is on controlling the human and environmental elements in the road safety equation. One can invent an intelligent car but developing intelligent roads and drivers is more of a challenge.
This is true for majority of road accidents happen not because of the kind of car but because of undisciplined drivers. Evans further says technology needs to be combined with education of drivers. In fact “It’s that old saying about the nut behind the wheel being the most unreliable part of the car,” he says.
Some say, a solution to this may be in strategies similar to those being considered by the NSW Government. It is investigating whether the human variable can be tackled with a Wollongong-based trial of technology it calls intelligent speed adaptation.
There is a study made in line with this. As a trial, which began in June last year and will run until December, the study involves monitoring the driving practices of 100 volunteers to see whether they are less prone to speeding when the system is operating in their car.
Similarly the BMW 7-Series overseas and engineers from the company have carried out tests in Australia, covering about 5000 kilometers of city and rural roads. In contrast, this system has a speed-limit data saved in its navigation system and has a back up because there’s an on-board camera that monitors all roadside signs thus this makes sure that the driver knows everything including roadwork sites. But the BMW system provides information only and doesn’t help slowing down the car which means that everything is still the driver’s responsibility.
Of course in other countries there are car companies which are trying to solve the same kind of problem. In Japan, car companies including Toyota and Nissan are working with the Government to develop intelligent freeways. Toyota is about to introduce a kind of technology that will feed real-time traffic information from roadside sensors into a car’s cabin.
It will alert drivers and let them know if there is an accident, breakdown or slow-moving traffic around a corner or over a crest. The technology has the potential to stop minor collisions.
But if this is going to be used in Australia, there might be a problem. As compared to Japan, Australia is larger but less populated. The features may not be the same and therefore could have an impact on the road toll. Furthermore, Australia, doesn’t have clear line markers on all roads which further require more alert drivers. And to add to all these would be the long distances of roads that you find which may be very tiring for drivers.
Now, could you resist thinking about the uncrashable cars?