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How Automotive Manufacturers are Making Improvements for Road Safety?

© by Photo courtesy of opdi.ca/logistics

Overview

Cars have also become immensely popular to the point where almost every household in the US owns a car. Ease of access and ease of commute in today’s lives makes care indispensable. We also have cars that can drive themselves, but the biggest problem is, with the increasing number of cars on the road, the risk of losing life in one also increases. Road accidents cause huge fatalities in the US every single day. So, the need for a competent way to prevent that from happening also requires attention.

Whether you own a pick-up truck like the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado or 2021 Toyota Sienna, or if you own an affordable sedan like the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, or even if it is a high-end luxury car like the Mercedes-Benz C-class or BMW 5-series, all cars come with some bare minimum safety features. High-end cars offer more innovative safety features. Manufacturers have gotten extra creative and came up with some really good ideas to implement safety.

Here are the top 10 newest and most advanced safety features –

Automatic Emergency Braking

It has been found that rear-end collisions are a very common way in which crashes occur on the road. The sensors at the front end of the car take a lot of information into account and if it detects that a crash is imminent, it immediately sends the driver audio and visual alerts. If the driver fails to stop the car, the system will automatically apply hard braking to make the car stop before it can actually crash. Some luxury vehicles also have the option to make the car steer around the obstacle in order to avoid braking at all.

Car-to-X communication

This is a Mercedes-Benz exclusive feature that seems futuristic at first glance. Dr Christian Weiss, responsible for Car-to-x communication said, that it is a “radio-based exchange of information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and traffic infrastructure.” What this basically does is create a network between all the Mercedes vehicles equipped with this technology. This enables the driver to “see” far beyond their own car’s field of vision. This way, the driver can be alert of hazardous situations early on. 

For example, the system can let drivers know of wrong-way drivers, or some hazards on the road before the driver actually approaches that location. Whenever the driver approaches the location, the system can send audio and visual alerts to the driver and the driver can take appropriate action. This approach is not only revolutionary but can also save hundreds of lives. More and more manufacturers should implement it, but for now, only Mercedes has it.

Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning

Lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning were also revolutionary ideas that changed the way cars drive on the highways. Different manufacturers might have different marketing names, but they all perform the same action. The cameras installed in the car look at the road ahead of the car and can identify lanes. If your car is in one lane, the system will try to keep it that way. Vehicles veering off of the lane, especially if a driver is sleepy and/or not paying attention, can avoid a lot of crashes. The lane keeping assist and departure warning work in tandem with each other. The lane departure warning will only alert the driver with beeps and alerts but the lane-keeping assist will actually steer the car back into a lane if it veers off.

Transparent Hood

This is another really cool feature that some manufacturers have started to include in their high-end cars. The car comes loaded with tons of cameras, all around it. What the “transparent hood” does is it allows the driver to see the terrain under their hood, or the body of their car, as if the car was transparent. Some intelligent processing is required to achieve this. An algorithm reconstructs the image below the vehicle and combines it with the image captured by the surround-view system. This is especially useful for off-roading if you can see the wheels and a transparent hood to clearly view the terrain on which the vehicle will be riding on.

Electronic Stability Control

We all know the wheels require friction and the more friction, the better grip the car will have on the road. But not all surfaces are friendly enough. Some slippery and wet surfaces can cause the car to lose traction and the wheels begin to skid. This can be problematic and lead to a loss of control of the car, leading to a crash. ESC prevents the loss of traction by taking various information into account and acting accordingly. It can apply brakes to each wheel individually and even reduce the engine power to make sure the car doesn’t lose traction. ESC is mandatory on all vehicles these days.

PRE-SAFE Sound

Another innovative technology developed by Mercedes is the Pre-Safe Sound. This is designed to prevent the loss of hearing, as a consequence of the loud noise, if a crash occurs. If the car detects that a crash is imminent, the sound system will play a short “pink noise”, which causes a reflex to activate in the occupants’ ears. The system protects hearing by triggering the stapedius reflex. This reflex causes the stapedius muscle to contract, weakening the connection between the eardrum and inner ear for a split second. This helps in reducing the damage during a loud crash. More manufacturers should start implementing this.

Blind-Spot Monitoring

Another common feature on every mid-range to high-end car these days is blind-spot monitoring. This system utilizes the camera that captures the blind spot and constantly monitors it. If another vehicle is driving or approaching the blind-spot of a vehicle, the system automatically alerts the driver about it. A warning will flash in the side mirror and if the driver tries to change lanes and another vehicle is fast approaching from the driver’s blind spot, the system notifies that too.

360-degree surround vision

Another important feature in high-end cars these days is the surround vision. Basically, an array of cameras located all around the car can be used to provide a 3D real-time feed of the surroundings of the car. It feels as if there’s a drone with a camera flying around the car that offers a surround-view from outside the car, at all sides. This is an extremely innovative feature and in the coming years, we will see more and more cars implementing this.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Another new and important feature is adaptive cruise control. The driver sets a cruising speed and the car stays at that speed without any input from the driver. This is the normal cruise control. Adaptive cruise control allows the car to also monitor the cars ahead of it using radars and sensors and calculate the safe distance from the car ahead. If the car ahead brakes or slows down, the system will slow down or brake the car automatically.

Pedestrian Detection

Not all vehicles offer good visibility. Some vehicles with high ground clearance can often make it quite tough to view the ground ahead of them and this makes it to spot pedestrians, especially children. The pedestrian detection system uses sensors located at the bottom of the car to alert the driver of any pedestrian directly ahead of them. Sometimes, this works in conjunction with automatic emergency braking and the car can apply the brakes itself to prevent an accident.