To commemorate Road Safety Week 2017, this week StaySafe has been taking a look at how safety on the roads can be better approved with the assistance of technology. Proposed measures to improve road safety are being seriously considered as Engineers have been looking at transforming the car itself.
Along with a £160 investment into 5G technologies, last weeks Autumn Budget speech from chancellor Phillip Hammond, announced a staggering £540 million investment into self-driving cars. While the Government bids to create a cleaner environment, and place the UK at the forefront of technological developments, the introduction of new driver assist technologies is also expected to benefit health and safety by significantly improving the way we travel and reducing the number of accidents on our roads.
How will it function?
With the aid of sensors, consisting of lasers, radars and cameras, the automated car will be able to detect objects and movements, making estimations on the ever-changing environment around them. GPS and mapping will be instilled to ensure the vehicle recognises its position, enabling it to be adaptive as well as efficient. This breakthrough driving assistance also promises smoother and more intelligent journeys, promoting steadier traffic and less acceleration. Ultimately this is thought to reduce car emissions and will make travelling both safer and healthier for the environment.
This clever technology boasts many features from remote control parking to motorway assist to deliver better journeys and accentuate independence on the roads. Regulations such as the highway code are to be altered to accommodate these new features.
How will it impact lone worker safety?
Already being utilised in mines and ports are driverless trucks for lone workers, designed for short and repetitive trips. This technology could prove extremely invaluable for lone workers in particular, due to consistent travel between locations, which can cause fatigue and consequently heighten the risk of accidents on the road. As a result, energy and concentration can be conserved for primary duties required to be carried out on location to inject more accuracy towards the tasks at hand, whilst also lowering stress and fatigue.
Distraction in drivers accounts to 20% of sleep related accidents and is a considerable instigator of serious injuries and fatalities on the road. The government recommends a fifteen-minute break be taken every two hours for company vehicles and advises motorists not to drive if they feel tired prior to travel. This is distinctly not a factor the new technology would be impacted by, making it much more reliable and time efficient.
Although high manufacturing costs are currently stalling the project, the self-driving technologies are expected to revolutionise travel and are being wholeheartedly supported by the Government. This innovation could make the UK a world leader in this technology, with new features predicted to go on sale within the next 2-4 years, and automated cars on our roads as early as 2020 – watch this space!