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Driving Safety Innovation: Roads of the Future

 

As technology continues to develop, so do the methods used to keep vehicles safe on the road. We’ve chosen a selection of innovative ways that countries have improved the safety of their vehicles, giving you an idea of what the future could look like for drivers in Europe. Have a read of the technological advances featured below, and you might see that you’ve already experienced some of them!

 

July, 2014

 

Actibump Intelligent Traffic System

Recently introduced to the Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark, these ‘dynamic’ speed bumps are designed to automatically activate after a vehicle has registered as driving too fast. Watch the video below and see how speeding vehicles are encouraged to reduce their speed…

As the ground lowers by 60 millimetres, it gives a not so gentle reminder to drivers who have crept over the speed limit, but doesn’t put the driver in danger of losing control. For example, if the bump was to rise out the ground, it wouldn’t have the same effect, and could potentially put the driver at risk.

A benefit of the speed bump’s responsive ability to detect a speeding driver means that vehicles travelling at the correct speed limit are unaffected by the Actibump, as it will not activate for them, maintaining a level driving surface. It goes to show how a simple design feature has been enhanced by the use of modern technology, working together with responsive radar detection measurement to improve driver safety.

 

Autopilot Cars

The idea of autopilot cars might make you think of futuristic sci-fi films, but the reality may be with us sooner than you think. Volvo are aiming to have reached zero fatalities in their cars by 2020, thanks to a technique called ‘platooning’, one of many developments they intend to employ within their vehicles. In the video below, you can see how Volvo has brought about the possibility of a convoy of vehicles, each measuring the speed and distance from each other, using ‘electronic tethering’.

As you can see, the technology involves the use of a professional driver at the front of the line of vehicles, allowing the rest of the drivers to sit back and relax, even allowing them to read a book or use an iPad at the wheel! While this may be helpful to prevent tiredness on long journeys, as well as reducing human error, there is also an impact on fuel efficiency, as reduced air drag results in lower fuel consumption.

 

Pedestrian Airbags

Another safety innovation that features in the Telegraph’s Volvo video is that of pedestrian airbags. Thanks to consumer surveys, technology has been able to develop in reaction to the desire of drivers to have improved safety within their vehicles. The video below provides some more insight into how pedestrian safety can be increased through this inspirational development, rather than just the safety of the drivers.

In the video, you can see how the features of the airbag are beneficial to both pedestrians and the vehicle, as the bonnet lifts the impact away from the engine, as well as cushioning the individual from parts of the vehicle, such as windscreen wipers and the A-pillars.

As cities become more and more populated, the necessity for technology that protects pedestrians on busy roads is ever more important. It’s therefore reassuring to see such developments that intend to protect you when you’re on foot, as well as when you’re driving.

It’s clear to see that in 2014, technology has already made impressive enhancements to driver and pedestrian safety. It is an exciting idea that car design features are becoming increasingly influenced by the need for improved road safety, which is often a result of a desire from drivers themselves. The ultimate result should be a greater potential for a safe experience when driving in Europe.

Head over to Forbes magazine to read about more engaging developments from around the world, including luminescent road lines and educating drivers about their behaviour on the roads. In addition to this, you can see AARP Driver Safety’s comprehensive insight into technologies that enhance driver safety for more mature drivers.

Author: Paul Quigley
1 September 2014