Technologies have been developing since ages and the human comfort has been the centre point of it. In case of transportation, various companies are working very hard each day to provide a comfortable mode to transport within the reach of families. But with the increase of passenger cars and CMVs over the road, it has been observed that the terrible fact of increasing fatalities related to car crashes is also reaching alarming stages. In United States, approximately, 37,000 people get killed in car crashes every year as reported by Association for Safe International Road Travel. The injury or disability figures reach up to 2.35 million. The country bears a cost of USD 230.6 billion per year due to road crashes. The most disturbing fact is that more than 1,600 children below 15 years are victims of road crashes. The teenage drivers within the age group of 16 to 20 victimized in these road crashes are close to 8,000.
One of the prime reasons for motor vehicle fatalities is considered distracted driving. Using cell phones while driving for conversation or texting, distraction due to navigation system usage, adjusting media players or other stuff often result in accidents. In 2012, over 3,000 people were killed due to distracted driving in United States. The injury figures were extremely high, approximately 421,000 people. The noteworthy fact is that, this figure depicts a 9 percent increase than 2011. Among the victims, it has also been observed that, 10 percent of the teen drivers, below the age of 20, are involved in distracted driving fatalities. According to the NHTSA, 27 percent of the driving in distraction accidents in motor vehicles is caused by teenagers below the age of 20. Hence it is one of the major reasons of teen deaths in United States. Among various reasons for distraction while driving, 21 percent comprise of talking over cell phones both handheld and hands free.
Safety Technologies Equipment on the rise in US Market
With the growth of the fatality rate in case of passenger cars and CMVs, the need for safety technologies have also increased manifolds. Currently, there are crash avoidance technologies available for passenger cars.
The Front crash prevention system is predominantly used to warn the drivers if the distance between the own vehicle and the one in front of it rapidly decreases. This technology utilizes various censors, cameras, radars and such like. The system is also programmed to pre charge the brake despite of the fact the driver responds or not. This system may not be able to prevent the crash every time but is effective in reducing the brutality of the accidents. In addition to this system, there is an additional facility attached which is capable of identifying pedestrians in the vehicle track.
The Lane departure warning and prevention system is used for the detection of the position of the vehicle within the lane. If the vehicle goes past the lane markings, an alarm is triggered through censors.
Another popular mechanism is the Blind spot detection. This mechanism detects the activity of any other vehicle within the blind spot of a passenger car with the help of censors. Mostly, a visual alarm goes off beside the rearview mirrors. In case of closeness beyond a certain limit, proper steering or braking is activated.
There is another mechanism which is related to parking assistance and backing. This mechanism has a lot of features. Firstly, it assists the driver of the vehicle by visualizing the objects behind the vehicle. It also warns the driver if another speeding vehicle is approaching when the car is in reverse motion. It case of severe emergency, the auto braking facility is also initiated to prevent an accident. The passenger cars are now laden with adaptive headlights. These headlights are connected to the steering wheel movement for the better view of the roads. This facility particularly helps in a better view of the bents and curves of the road at night.
There are a few warning mechanisms which majorly helps in the prevention of potential accidents.
The curve speed warning is one of such systems. An amalgamation of the GPS and digital systems, this mechanism predicts the potential speed limit over a curve to prevent a slide over.
The fatigue warning is used to alert the inattentiveness or the drowsiness of driver. The censors for this system monitor the eye blink rate and the blink duration.
The Electronic stability control is the detection of the response of a passenger car towards the steering input. The system alters the engine power and selectively applies the brakes to keep the vehicle in steering position. The antilock brakes are helpful in restraining the lock of the brakes during emergency hard braking thus preventing the slide over.
The New Initiatives
As the awareness of the safety driving is increasing, many companies are pouring in assets and money to improve the safety technologies within passenger cars and CMVs. The US Department of Transportation has been constantly putting effort in this regard. The organization has announced this year, the enabling of the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles. This technology is based on the bottom line fact that the base level safety data can be exchanged between the vehicles which particularly include the speed and position at an interval of 10 times per second. With this technology, the location and speed information between vehicles can be communicated, which will benefit a moving traffic in many ways. If the first vehicle within a lane brakes suddenly, the sudden reduction in speed will be transmitted to the other vehicles in the same lane, this avoiding collision. In case of a sudden lane change or any out of lane movement of a vehicle, it can also be alerted efficiently with this technology. The government organization is also expecting to take this technology a step forward with on-board sensors. In 2012, there were 3,000 vehicles launched with this technology as a pilot operation and it came out with positive results.
Another technology parallel to vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology is being developed, the V2I communication technology which allows the communication of the on road vehicles with the road infrastructure. This technology prevalently allows monitoring vehicles within a particular range and is helpful in cautioning a vehicle which is going out of lane, going beyond speed limit or alerting of a signal. This results in the prevention of speeding or intersection collision.
Under the Kids Transportation Safety Act, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the country has announced the implementation of the rear-visibility technology in all the vehicles below the weight range of 10,000 pounds from 2018. This initiative aims at reducing crashes while the vehicle is in reverse motion. Under the act, it has been made compulsory that the light vehicles should be able to display rear camera video in a span of two minutes from the moment the vehicle in put in reverse motion.
A breakthrough technology of Integrated LCD Controller has been developed by a market leader, Intersil Corporation. The company has introduced the latest LCD video processor named TW8836. The processor is laden with unique built-in scaler and de-interlacer and has image enhancement and On Screen Display properties. This equipment can be competently used for displaying rear camera video along with graphic overlay within 500 milliseconds from the ignition of the vehicle. This promptly alerts the vehicle if any government road safety norms are violated.
Another technology that has caught up the eye of many companies and is expected to be popular among the sedans is the Kia Pop concept which is an approach wherein the OLED technology comes in with a transparent panel in the dashboard. This improves the visibility to a greater extent.
Cost related to the motor vehicle accidents
The safety issues related to motor vehicles have always caught up the attention of many companies and individuals. The costs related to the motor vehicle accidents have been always on the uptrend. This has always fuelled the advancement of the safety technologies in passenger cars and CMVs. The average auto liability claim on grounds of property damage has been USD 3,073 in 2012 whereas the average auto liability claim for bodily injury stood at USD 14,653. On the other hand the average collision claim for 2012 amounted to USD 2,950. As already depicted, motor vehicle accidents claim numerous lives each year, these might be the result of faulty car parts, reckless driving or any unintentional human error. Whatever may be the reason, road accidents pose a serious threat to the vehicle occupants as well as the pedestrians.
This is where the safety technologies come forth to the rescue. These technologies not only provide a safe driving experience but also help in comfortable vehicle control. These technologies may not always be helpful in preventing a potential accident but plays an important role in reducing the severity of the same.
With the advent of the safety technologies towards prevention of accidents, it might be observed that the cost of small claims may reduce to a certain extent. But, there are other factors that come into play when the insurance premiums are in question. The increase in inflation rate coupled with the ever increasing medical costs also plays a very significant role in the insurance premiums. Hence, according to industry influencers, the safety technologies will actively help to keep a secure premium rates. Along with the addition of the new technologies, there is another factor of replacement of the gadgets associated with these technologies from time to time. This might increase the premium rates to a certain extent. Hence it can be foreseen that, with the safety transportation technologies, the insurance premiums are expected to remain stable in future.
The US market is posing as a strong foothold for the transportation safety technologies for passenger cars and CMVs. The constant implementation and improvising of the safety technologies within the motor vehicles is constantly observed in the country. The implementation of acts by government organizations like National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the infusion of the safety technologies is noteworthy. Bringing in of high tech equipments within the existing technologies like on board censors, LCD video processors and such like put forth the fact that the issue of safety while driving is being dealt with utmost priority. This will in turn fuel the investments for these technologies in the coming years.