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Future Safety Innovations

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 30 Apr 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Safety Future Innovations Motoring Crash

Innovation in the motoring industry occurs all the time. Any history of the last hundred years or so of road vehicle use can show one new idea after another. These ideas relate to fuel efficiency, speed, comfort and safety. The innovations in the first of these three categories continue to make regular appearances. And they receive significant publicity because they help to sell cars and lorries. But it’s the safety ideas that are often the most imaginative and intriguing aspects of vehicle design. And they’re certainly as important as any other development.

Spoilers with a Difference

Spoilers may start to carry warning messages. If a vehicle comes too close, for instance, an infrared sensing device may activate a message that reads: “Stay Back” or “Keep Your Distance”. Drivers may also be able to place other messages across the spoiler. Among these will be “Beware – Accident Ahead”, “Vehicle On Tow” and “”Help”.

Another proposed spoiler safety innovation is an aid to reversing. A series of prisms on the spoiler will allow a driver to use the rear-view mirror to see the area behind the vehicle.

Crash Preparation

Crash preparation sounds rather alarming. But this innovation is already in use on some luxury cars. It may well spread to other vehicles in the future. Imagine the situation where car A turns a bend and finds a stalled vehicle, car B, blocking the road ahead. The distance is so short that a crash is inevitable.

With crash preparation technology, sensors on cars A and B detect the coming accident. Automatic systems close sunroofs and tighten seatbelts. Sensors on car A also apply the brakes to maximum effect and may even seek a way round car B. The idea is to lessen the impact between the two cars, and thereby reduce damage and injury.

Computers

Letting an on-board computer take the strain of driving is a prospect that some innovators like to discuss. In theory, a properly programmed computer can increase safety by eliminating human error. But can any programme take into account every aspect of a journey by car or lorry?

Computer driven cars will probably not appear. The computer safety innovations more likely to be around in the future will relate to the road and the environment. Computers, for example, will make adjustments to braking systems and speed to allow for the weather, the amount of surrounding traffic, and road markings such as “Accident Black Spot” warnings.

Pedestrians

Another vital aspect of vehicle safety is reducing injuries to pedestrians. One accident scenario is that of a driver hitting a pedestrian who’s walking across a road. The impact may propel the pedestrian over the vehicle or hurl him or her to one side.To lessen the danger to the pedestrian, some car makers are considering a pop-up bonnet. Just as the impact occurs, the car’s bonnet partly opens in front of the windscreen. In this way, the bonnet becomes a slanted surface that absorbs some of the force with which the pedestrian hits the car. This can help to reduce the pedestrian’s potential injuries and control his or her movement after the first impact.

Future Improvements

Such ideas will make motoring a safer experience. They also show that innovators are thinking about safety as well as ways of creating faster, more luxurious and less fuel-hungry vehicles.

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