Technology in vehicles has constantly been progressing. From seatbelts being introduced in the early 1900s — but only becoming standard in the 1970s — to electric vehicles being set to take over petrol-powered vehicles, the automotive industry is forever trying to make driving safer. Every year on roads across the globe, 1.2 million people lose their lives. It is predicted that road accidents will become the seventh leading cause of death in the world by 2030.
However, our automobiles have a host of gadgets and advancements that try their best to help us stay safe on the roads. Here, with Lookers, who sell the all-new Skoda Scala, we take a look:
Blind spot sensors
A vehicle’s blind spot is found between your windscreen, dashboard and pillars. This area can often cause issues when it comes to changing lanes. For some, manoeuvres are difficult due to their blind spot, but thanks to sensors connected to visual and audio systems, some cars can now scan the surrounding area for any hazards.
Tiredness can kill. We see a lot of adverts and roadside signs that remind us of this. It may be impossible to state how many deaths on the road are caused by tiredness each year, but driver fatigue contributes to up to one in five accidents. To combat a driver’s drowsiness, fatigue detection monitors are now found in many cars. These work by monitoring the driver’s steering movements. If it believes it recognises any altering patterns, the technology will then advise drivers to take a break.
It’s crucial when driving — especially at speed — that you stay in your designated lanes. Not doing so can cause a fatal accident. The lane-keep assist device allows you to monitor the lane lines in order to alarm the driver if they begin to cross over into a different lane. This allows the driver to be reactive and bring the car back into the correct lane, thus lowering the possibility of having an accident.
It’s not just our vehicles that are attempting to make driving safer. Smart motorways have been brought in, in which hard shoulders can be used as a running lane when traffic is heavy. The signs, shown above you on motorways, will inform you of the maximum speed you can travel and, in some cases, mark a red cross to show it’s illegal to drive in a certain lane.
Of course, as is the case in every industry, technological advancements are in the pipeline for our vehicles too. So, what might the future hold?
Virtual hazard mapping
Many vehicles now have a built-in sat nav present for the driver to take advantage of. This makes it a lot easier to get from A to B. However, cars could soon use on-board sensors to get a 360-degree map that shows everything in the vehicle’s vicinity. This I2V (Invisible to Visible) technology will allow you to see nearby cars, pedestrians, cyclists and other hazards. While it’s not a driving asset just yet, it’s thought that this could someday revolutionise the way motorists act on the road as they’ll be able to see around corners.
This year’s CES trade show organised by the Consumer Technology Association was held in Las Vegas in January. Here, caravan owners who tow their living space behind them were informed that the task could soon become a whole lot easier. This is because of Valeo’s XtraVue system, which uses cameras to make trailers (and caravans) invisible so that the driver can easily view the road behind them. This surprisingly simple technology combines imagery from two attached cameras to come up with one shot that allows the trailer to appear transparent.
Of course, as the population continues to grow, so too will the number of vehicles on our roads. Therefore, any technological advances to make driving safer our welcomed and it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds.