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How Technology Is Paving The Way For Safer Roads

Friday, February 16, 2018

We live in a fascinating time; technology is evolving rapidly and being integrated more and more into so many aspects of our daily lives, tasks that once required a lot of time and effort can now be completed without moving much more than a finger and things that a century ago seemed impossible are now just a part of everyday life.

One area of our lives being improved by technology that we should be very grateful for is our safety, especially the safety of our roads. The amount of road causalities around the world every year is saddening but thankfully there is reason to be optimistic about the future with new technology always being introduced to our cars/roads and below are what we think are some of the biggest ideas and advancements in road safety technology.

Augmented Reality Dashboards


If you aren’t sure what it is, to put it simply augmented reality adds computerised data (such as graphics, text and sound) to what we can see in the real world. This technology has already been used in some cars with BMW’s Head-up Display that shows some basic but important information like speed-limits and fuel levels, however in the future we should see more advanced uses of augmented reality that really improve our safety, for example showing detailed real-time information about the cars surroundings and environment to prevent accidents.

Driver Drowsiness Detection


According to the Think! Road Safety campaign almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related, and although there are several precautions people can take to ensure they are not tired at the wheel it still happens a lot which is why a lot of cars today have drowsiness detection systems that detect the behaviour of the driver by monitoring things such as steering movements, the position of the car on the road/within the lane markings,  or even monitoring the drivers face and head for signs of tiredness by detecting movements like blinking/closing eyes or drooping of the head.

Active Health Monitoring


There is so much that you just can’t predict on the roads and unfortunately one thing that puts drivers at risk are health problems, from fainting to heart attacks. Several car companies are developing ways to monitor the vital health signals of a driver through methods such as in-seat electrocardiography readers or wearable technology that monitors the drivers heartbeat, in-seat sensors that detect body temperature,  or even special cameras that measure changes in skin colour.

Smart Crossings


Crossing a road is something that is second nature to most people; we are taught from a young age to be careful and always look both ways, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous and accidents do happen. Pedestrian crossing designs are outdated, but Umbrellium have begun to address this with the Starling Crossing (STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) which is a “pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way.”

The crossing is interactive and reacts to different conditions and scenarios in real-time using LED lights “to modify the patterns, layout, configuration, size and orientation of pedestrian crossings in order to prioritise pedestrian safety” – it works through cameras that feed back information to a system (or neural network) that can recognise pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.

Is there something that should’ve been on this list that isn’t? We’d love to hear your opinion so feel free to pop a comment down below or over on our Facebook!