Friday 23rd April 2021

How connected car technology is improving road safety

Published on August 25th, 2020

The global connected car market size is expected to reach US$166.0 billion (€140.5 billion) by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 25.2%, according to a report by Markets and Markets.

Thanks to recent advances in technology and the increasing collaboration between automakers and governments, connected cars are slowly taking over and fundamentally changing the way people live, work, and drive, says Jocelyn Brown.

There are numerous perceived benefits of having more connected cars on the roads increased convenience, reducing congestion, and improving vehicle efficiency are a few of them but one direct benefit to drivers and passengers is improving road safety.

Driver assistance systems

Connected cars have revolutionised automotive safety by enabling semi-autonomous capabilities such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking. Thanks to a combination of cameras, sensors, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, today’s connected cars have advanced monitoring systems that alert drivers of potential dangers and can even take control of a vehicle, when necessary, to avoid an accident.

For instance, if two vehicles are headed for a collision, the cars themselves can avoid that by slowing down, applying the brakes, or taking a different route. In such a case, the cars would be communicating on their speeds and movements and would be aware of an imminent accident well before the drivers.

With more research and innovation, these semi-autonomous driving features are expected to be the foundation for autonomous driving technology, where cars will be able to drive through cities and highways without human intervention.

Predictive maintenance

Car breakdowns can be dangerous, especially when they happen unexpectedly or when the vehicle owner keeps driving without knowing that their car has a problem. In traditional cars, maintenance was mostly corrective but in connected cars, it has shifted to become more predictive. Connected cars monitor diagnostic trouble codes, sensors, vehicle speed, odometer readings, engine temperature, and other parameters to predict an ensuing maintenance or repair job, allowing the vehicle owner to fix it before it leads to a dangerous situation.

Beyond that, connected cars can run diagnostics on themselves after a breakdown and notify the driver of the exact problem and how to fix it.

Collecting vital safety information

Jocelyn Brown

Connected cars gather a lot of data that can come in handy for drivers including real-time traffic and crash data, upcoming road hazards, weather conditions, and more. Armed with this data, drivers can make better decisions which can help them avoid dangerous situations.

Apart from providing immediate assistance to drivers, the sheer amount of safety-related data collected by connected cars is also influencing the design of future cars and providing traffic management authorities and city builders with both the real-time and historical data they need to create more effective and safer driving experiences in the future.

Over-the-air updates

As a connected car rolls out of a manufacturing facility today, it’s just the first version of itself. Throughout its life cycle, it will continuously receive software updates so that it can stay at its best and adapt to changing times. For example, BMW recently announced that it will begin rolling out it’s biggest ever over-the-air software update that will enable drivers to receive notifications on accidents black spots and adverse road conditions based on data collected from other connected BMW vehicles.

The transportation industry is going through a massive transformation, and at the heart of it is connected car technology. As vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity, as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity, becomes even more commonplace, connected cars have the potential to dramatically improve road safety improving the lives of drivers and other road users.

The author is freelance technology writer, Jocelyn Brown.

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