Millions of cars today come installed with navigation systems that speak directions to vehicle drivers, but some automobiles are going even further today with speech and communication to help reduce the potential for automobile accidents. Advanced automation promises to bring new conveniences plus improved safety to drivers in the future.
Transportation officials in the U.S. government have started to discuss new automobile requirements that would mandate new communication features such as devices to allow cars to talk to one another. The way this technology would work would be through a transponder installed in the car which would broadcast location information and other details to nearby vehicles.
Proponents of the technology suggest that the information could alert another driver before a potential crash and allow for evasive action. In addition, advanced technology could also allow a vehicle to take over certain operations within the car to avoid an accident. For example, a vehicle might apply the brakes or even swerve out of the way of a potential accident.
Some people have expressed concern over allowing a vehicle to take over the operation of the vehicle from a human driver.
The technology wouldn’t prevent every possible crash, and issues like drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs would still pose dangers; however, there are other devices already in use that aim to reduce dangers on the road.
For example, some cars may be outfitted with a machine called an ignition interlock device. This device is designed to prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking, and has a measurable amount of alcohol in their blood. However, most drivers prefer them to new devices being implemented across several states involving oral swabs.
Some cars also come equipped with a vocal feature where the car will alert the driver when an attempt is made to exit a lane without a signal. For someone who is inebriated and driving, this vocal alert could be the difference between causing a collision and steering clear of one. The reviews on this technology are mixed so far, but automakers will likely continue to refine this feature over the next several years.
Another new technology that aims to make vehicles safer on the roads comes from Mercedes and is called autonomous cruise control or adaptive cruise control. The technology allows a driver to engage the cruise control, and the vehicle will keep the car from getting too close to vehicles that are ahead of the car. This feature could help prevent an unaware driver from accidentally getting too close to another vehicle while driving.
Vehicle manufacturers will continue to refine and improve upon current vehicle automation devices over the next decade. Improving safety and making it easier for drivers to avoid accidents is a primary concern for automakers and government regulators. It will be interesting to see just how far vehicle designers and inventors go in trying to create cars that don’t even need a driver behind the wheel.