The Effects of Technology on Automobile Safety

While we might be a ways away from commonplace self-driving cars, new technology is revolutionizing the way we think about our vehicles. By monitoring and improving our driving, tech can mean safer roads — and who doesn’t want that?

Automobile technology is changing with the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and powerful collision avoidance systems. These devices all come with an impact on our safety.

Here, we explore just how this new tech affects automobile safety and what those effects mean for the future.

New automobile tech

Technology never remains stagnant, and in the rapidly changing world of computerized machines, innovation can bring powerful performance boosts. New automobile tech demonstrates exactly that, bringing greater awareness and functionality to the vehicles we drive.

Among the many technologies powering the high-tech automobile revolution, three innovations stand out: IoT, AI, and collision avoidance technology are changing the way we think about and drive our vehicles. Here’s what you should know about these foundational inventions:

Internet of Things

IoT is everywhere, connecting our devices in a web of convenience. It has made its way even to automobiles, where the software systems that now commonly operate vehicle features can be kept updated. IoT devices in cars enable consistent improvements and cybersecurity checks, which is why they’re being employed by vehicle manufacturers like Tesla.

Tesla sends out frequent over-the-air (OTA) updates to its vehicles. These updates bring performance-boosting changes to features like battery power and suspension. This acts to enhance the vehicle over time, improving it in ways previously impossible with standard cars.

Artificial intelligence

AI may be the most revolutionary technology to come to the automobile industry. With the advances powerful AI functions like machine learning have brought to self-driving vehicles, we are facing a future of commonplace autonomous cars and trucks.

AI acts with human or superhuman intelligence to perform functions that previously required a human. Machine learning adds the ability for the computer to improve itself with additional data input. This has enormous potential in eliminating the safety concerns of human error on the road.

Collision avoidance systems

Without replacing drivers fully, new technology can still bring about machine levels of performance. This includes systems that apply AI towards adaptive functionality. Collision avoidance uses radar, laser, or camera sensors to predict and warn when a collision is imminent. This ability is absolutely vital in powering other car safety features like:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Stability control

While these technologies may not be as whimsical and zany as what people used to imagine was the future of automotive tech, they can each play a significant role in automobile safety. But will this really be for the better?

How technology is changing automobile safety

Technology has already had significant impacts on automobile safety through the application of technologies like those mentioned above. Collision avoidance tech, for example, is estimated to reduce the frequency of crashes by around 3.5%. This means safer roads for all of us.

But still, there are safety pros and cons to the increase in vehicle automation.

On one hand, vehicles that rely on computer systems are also more open to cybersecurity risks as well as technical malfunctions. When a car is driving itself, liability in an accident cannot even be clearly determined. Additionally, there is the evolving problem of distracted driving, which web-connected features may only make worse. It is impossible to determine yet just how these factors may impact vehicle safety.

On the other hand, up to 94% of serious crashes are caused by choices or errors made by humans. From drowsy driving to limited visibility, all sorts of errors are made because of impairment on the human senses. Robots do not face the same problems. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to reduce crashes caused by distraction or misjudgment, thereby saving lives. By any measure, lives saved mean a worthwhile investment and tools we should all seek to employ in our own vehicles.

New technology only appears to be making vehicles safer. IoT, AI, and collision avoidance tech combine to offer more precise accident protection. With road traffic crashes the leading cause of death for people aged 1-54 in the US, we need every bit of help we can get.

A safer, high-tech future

Automobile accidents are a serious problem across the world, claiming thousands of lives each year. But even non-fatal accidents can leave all kinds of physical and mental scars, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Technology has the potential to reduce these life-impacting problems through more precise reactions and preventative measures.

At the same time, however, issues like distracted driving will remain. No matter how precise our automated vehicle tech becomes, the importance of responsible vehicle operation will still be vital to automobile safety. Drive safely, utilize helpful tools, and always keep your focus on the road when operating a vehicle — even if it’s driving itself.