Car technology that has gone mass market after debuting in high-end models is making a big difference in accidents and fatalities.
3 car technologies that save lives
- Adaptive headlights – With this technology, your headlights turn as you turn your steering wheel, helping you to see around a dark curve at night. Having headlights rotate first before you get there has caused a 10% drop in overall accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Forward collision systems (FCS) – Say you’re on the road and you glance away for a moment to read a text message. You don’t realize that traffic has slowed in front of you. An FCS uses radar to know that the gap is closing on the vehicle in front of you and automatically takes control of the car to reduce the severity of impact. In cars that have FCS, accident rates are down about 15% across all kinds of accidents, not just rear end collisions.
- Lane departure warning systems – Data shows this system hasn’t proven as valuable as I thought it would when it was first introduced. Perhaps that’s because the low tech answer to a lane departure warning is rumble strips on the side of the road.
Read more: The #1 safety feature every car needs…
Car tech of tomorrow will continue to make us safer
For years, we’ve been in the ‘fully assist’ stage where cars are basically rolling computers that make us safer and smarter. Technologies like forward collision systems, adaptive headlights, and lane departure warning systems have greatly reduced fatalities. And let’s not forget about electronic stability control (ESC), the most important safety feature.
But that’s only a pit stop on the road to safety. The cars of the future will be a whole different game, and they will do more and more to eliminate fatalities.
Collectively, over the next few years, the improvements in technology will allow us to take fatalities down from the mid 30,000s to the lows 20,000s in terms of numbers of deaths.
Fatality rates will keep dropping from there. We won’t go to zero, but we will go very close to it. How can I be so certain? Look at air travel. It used to be a risky venture. But today, the technology in cockpits makes flying much safer than it used to be.
The automobile industry has lagged behind in that department, so that’s the next big wave that will be great for you and me.