Artificial intelligence will ensure our roads are safe.
Every year, over 1.25 million lives are cut short in road traffic crashes, according to the World Health Organization. The devastation due to the resulting injuries and the loss of loved ones is insurmountable and a huge burden on public health care and other resources.
Despite increased road policing, as well as the insistence on seatbelts and public education on the significance of safer roads, the situation hasn’t improved much. However, thanks to the advances we’ve made, we can use intelligent technology to boost safety on our roads.
Vehicle to Vehicle Communication (V2V)
For close to a decade, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been researching V2V communication technology.
They reveal that V2V communication is superior to the crash avoidance technologies available today, which include radar, cameras and onboard sensors. That’s because it offers something more — the ability to warn drivers of any impending dangers.
V2V communication employs onboard dedicated short-range radio communication devices to transmit messages about a vehicle’s speed, brake status, heading and more to other cars. In turn, it receives similar signals. The technology can also transmit messages with a more extended range and line-of-sight capabilities when compared to current and near-future systems.
And with the longer detection range plus the ability to “see” through other vehicles, V2V-equipped vehicles can detect accidents sooner than other systems and even warn drivers accordingly.
Innovative LED Road Studs
Highways England has plans to install about 170 LED studs at a highway junction used by over 90,000 automobiles daily. According to CNBC, these LED studs will light up every time the traffic lights turn from red to green, directing drivers to the lane they should follow. The studs connect to traffic lights using sub-surface cables via an automatic regulator unit and are visible over 1,000 meters away.
Reportedly, the studs have been proven to stop drivers from switching between lanes, thereby reducing collisions significantly. In some cases, the intelligent road studs have reduced road transgressions by half, according to a report by Research Gate.
Intelligent Speed Assistance
Intelligence speed assistance is a system designed to make sure drivers do not exceed the speed limit. This system continually monitors a vehicle’s location through GPS and then calculates the speed based on the distance traveled. After that, it links the speed to a database, which then connects it to the standard speed limit for the road and the area traversed by the vehicle. If the analysis indicates that the driver is about to exceed the speed limit, then the intelligence speed assistance issues an audio and visual warning.
It’s also possible to fit the system with a speed limiter. The limiter is a mechanism that cuts off the fuel supply automatically, thereby slowing down the car.
Electronic Stability Control
Electronic Stability Control uses a couple of intelligent sensors to monitor driving patterns. If a driver loses control of a car, most likely due to skidding and oversteering, the system steps in.
Although ESC doesn’t increase the available traction, it increases the odds of keeping the vehicle under control. It does this by invoking the driver’s natural reaction of steering in the intended direction during extreme maneuvers.
Clearly, intelligent technology is the future of safer highways. However, enhanced road safety can be achieved if we combine technology with road policing as well as mass education on the importance of road safety to put an end to distracted driving.