In today’s hectic world, the roads more fraught with hazards than ever, motorists have to contend with terrible road surfaces, traffic jams and the careless actions of others. In other words, we need eyes on the road in all directions at once; clearly this is not possible unless you are a many-eyed monster from Lake Springfield. Thankfully technology comes to our automotive aid with telematics, notably ADAS - the Advanced Driver Assistance System, as it is generally referred to. The steady and inexorable rise of the autonomous cars is gaining pace, whether we want them or not. This has given rise to a certain resistance from the public at large to relinquishing total control, not unreasonably asking the question, ‘is driver assist safe’? That said, over time advances in telematics in our connected cars which will over time profoundly affect how we drive.
Drive Assist forms a part of ADAS with the aim of reducing vehicle accidents. Currently over ninety percent of road traffic collisions are regrettably caused by driver error. That’s the thinking behind autonomous vehicles which, it is argued, when augmented by ADAS, will help to reduce death and injuries on our highways.
What Are Telematics?
Sensor technologies, including camera-based vision systems, radar-based detection and driver condition evaluation cameras already exist in our cars or can be fitted retrospectively. Their purpose is to aid or even take control of braking, steering, accelerating and blind spot coverage. It has already been proven that this technology can greatly reduce accident statistics; those numbers that show human lives as just numbers on a page.
By monitoring driver actions on the road, coupled with surround-vision, Driver Assist can warn of an imminent collision by using lights and sound. They can also pre-charge the brakes, tighten seatbelts and even autonomously apply a car's brakes. We’ve come a long way since ABS.
ADAS In Our Cars Today
Car manufacturers are increasingly including Driver Assist technology into new vehicles. As research and development continues and the science develops so it becomes more readily available as options or built-in to mainstream cars. Economies of scale and brand associations mean more and more drivers benefit through the trickle-down process. This is good news for the private motorist. Tomorrow’s world now. Even for owners of older vehicles, quality after-market systems are available off the shelf.
It seems an obvious statement to say that a tired driver is a dangerous driver, yet many of us choose to press on with the trip even when we know we are getting sleepy. This has resulted in the development of facial recognition technology which can reveal from facial movements if a driver is getting tired. A camera that can recognise the symptoms of tiredness, yawning, drooping eyelids and other symptoms of tiredness, and alert the driver to take heed and rest.
It is the nature of people to not want to let go of their own fate, which is understandable. They baulk at the idea of putting their lives in the hands of a machine, to put it simply. Yet the evidence is already there that telematics work and the future of our roads rather depends on further reliance on vehicles that can help us help ourselves.