While widespread self-driving cars may be what we're heading to in the next decade or so, there are many other technologies that are drastically improving traffic safety in the meantime. Here are some of the most promising.
Automatic Emergency Braking
In 2016, the NHTSA announced that more than 20 automobile manufacturers have committed to including AES features on all new vehicles by the year 2022. AES stands for Automatic Emergency Braking. Previously, the feature was available only on luxury and high-end vehicles, and often as only an option. In addition, the announcement said that all SUV's and heavy trucks would also include this feature as standard by the year 2025. Automatic emergency braking could reduce collision accidents significantly by automatically braking before the driver sees a problem.
With many new vehicles coming with Internet or wireless enabled features, the need for cybersafety measures has become critical. These capabilities have added a wide range of features to vehicles, from mobile wireless Internet to enhanced communication ability to better GPS service to self-driving features and even remote control. However, these advantages also come with disadvantages. In theory, these features can allow a hacker to access the vehicle's computer controls and possibly disengage safety features, cause the vehicle to stop or slow down or even crash. Government agencies are recommending automotive manufacturers install cybersafety features to prevent and detect intrusions into a vehicle's computer. In addition, it is recommended that automotive companies include rapid response features which allow a vehicle that has been compromised to respond and repair itself quickly. New features that can increase cybersecurity of a vehicle include firewalls, fingerprint and facial recognition, intrusion detection features and extensive backups.
Drunk Driving Detection Technology
New systems are being developed to prevent drunk driving accidents. One of the best ways to detect an intoxicated person is by testing their breath, so it makes sense that a breath sensor would be one of the best tools to incorporate in the vehicle of a person who has driven drunk before. A system is becoming available that will test a driver's breath from sensors mounted on the steering wheel. Presumably, the vehicle would not turn on if breath with a certain amount of alcohol was detected. Another major advancement in this area is touch detection. With new technology, when the driver touches the ignition or start button, a touch pad would scan their fingers with an infrared light which measures alcohol levels under the skin. Again, this would stop the vehicle from turning on if an intoxicated person tries to drive.