When automobile accidents are the number one type of personal injury claim in the U.S., it makes sense to want to make roads safer for everyone using them. Ideally, there would never be another car accident again. But how do we get there? These technologies are giving us a great head start.
LIDAR Sensors and Cameras
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Sensors and cameras might not be new technologies, but they’re certainly helping to make roads a safer place for drivers. Using these technologies, engineers have been able to develop connected car systems that can actually help road planners detect potential accidents in real time when placed in high-risk areas. Eventually, this technology could be implemented in cars to relay warnings of potential crashes to drivers while they’re on the road. In addition, this technology could help drivers even more by providing real-time data on any moving objects on the road. That includes cyclists, pedestrians, animals, and other drivers.
More Sophisticated Biometrics
Car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz are currently working on sophisticated biometric technologies that may help determine whether someone is fit to drive. Sensors within the vehicle would measure biometrics like a person’s breathing and heart rate to determine someone’s ability to drive. While these biometrics may only be able to tell whether someone is fatigued or sluggish, this technology provides a lot of promise in stopping people from driving while under the influence. While someone can still be charged with DUI even if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is under 0.08%, imagine if their car could stop them from driving before they even started the engine. This technology, combined with ignition interlock devices, could drastically reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents on the road.
Safety for Cyclists
With more and more people relying on bicycles to get around, the importance of keeping cyclists safe has been thrust into the spotlight. That’s why the LINKS Foundation, a technology company whose mission is stated as “innovative projects for a sustainable future,” is working for cyclists everywhere. Recently, the company outfitted a demo bicycle with a global navigation system and a 5G transceiver that, when combined, can determine the bicycle’s exact location and relay that information to nearby drivers. The idea is that eventually, the Internet of Things (IoT) will be able to help us create truly “smart” roads. Traffic lights will “see” cars coming, cars will “see” pedestrians and notify drivers or stop automatically, and bicycles will be able to communicate with other vehicles on the roads.
Technological advancements are happening all the time. Some thermoplastic materials can even withstand temperature extremes up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The key is whether we’re ready to start using that technology for the good of all. These road safety technologies provide us with a pretty good head start.