Exciting new developments in automotive safety features

Friday, 18 August, 2023

Exciting new developments in automotive safety features

Car safety has made great strides in recent years with reversing and 360-degree cameras becoming standard equipment on many vehicles, in addition to the mainstay curtain airbags and crumple zones.

Much of car safety was employed to minimise injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash. Now new technology based on automation and machine learning is being used to prevent crashes before they can happen.

So many advances in car safety are taking place at the same time, it’s led the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) to change the definition of what a “five star” rating needs to include.

Increased automation and technological assistance

ANCAP has introduced new guidelines to inform consumers around levels of automation and driving assistance. Vehicle technologies are rated between Level 1 and 5. Currently, Level 1 and 2 systems are available in Australia and New Zealand, which includes adaptive cruise control which maintains a constant distance and speed between one’s car and a driver in front, and active lane centring which keeps a vehicle from veering into other lanes. Other tech that is crucial to a five-star rating is direct driver monitoring systems (DMS) and child presence detection (CPD).

Other Level 1 and 2 technologies may include autonomous braking assistance, automatic parking assistance, and proximity sensing and imminent collision detection. Level 3 systems include Automatic Lane Keeping Systems, which acts as “virtual chauffeur” during traffic jams and doesn’t require direct driver supervision. These are only available in Europe at the moment. Levels 4 and 5 are reserved for fully automated driving systems of the future.

Interacting with road infrastructure

Having cars connect with road infrastructure and cloud-based data may also improve safety in the future. This could feed drivers weather or accident warnings or help refine car radar detection on freeways where cars may be kilometres ahead instead of only 50 or 100 metres away. The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) is conducting research into this type of Cooperative and Automated Vehicle technology.

Reducing in-car distractions

Cars are becoming “cockpit-like” with infotainment centres becoming the norm in many vehicles. Research suggests 70% of distractions are caused within the vehicle. Taking the eyes off the road for two seconds doubles the risk of collision; therefore human-centered design must take our tendency toward distraction in mind when designing vehicles for safety, such as blanking out screens when the car is in motion or translucent heads-up displays to show speed and other warnings that don’t require the driver to shift their focus.

Upgrading your car — worth it?

These technologies combined can be worth the peace of mind it brings, especially if you are a regular commuter or rely on your car or vehicle for work. If your car is an integral part of your work, it could be viewed as part and parcel of workplace safety.

Having a high safety car could very well save you from serious or fatal crashes, just like guardrails and non-slip mats do the same for factories and warehouses.

New cars and these safety technologies can be expensive, so you will likely need to take out a car loan. Remember to compare different car loans to ensure you get a good rate and deal — giving you the best and latest safety features for less. Visit: https://www.savvy.com.au/car-loans/secured/ for options.

Image credit: iStock.com/NongAsimo

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