With the growing number of vehicles on roads, traffic chaos and disobedient traffic accidents can only be accepted. But technology today is trying to ensure driver safety in times of crashes, or even before they happen. How safe are you in the vehicle you ride? Today, safety is probably one of the first concerns that come to our mind when we buy a car. And this is because cars are increasingly becoming a part of our lives, as well as a cause of deaths! Therefore, the automobile manufacturers are increasing their focus on developing advanced safety features with the help of novel technologies. So, let us take a look at some of the most advanced and amazing automobile technologies that are actually saving lives on the road.
1. Anti-lock braking system. (ABS)
Skidding is the phenomenon of locking up of the wheels of a vehicle when a sudden braking force is applied. When the front wheel or wheels of a vehicle are locked its ability to change direction is reduced. Similarly, when the rear wheels are locked vehicle stability is reduced. Skidding can be avoided by releasing the brake pressure just before the wheels lock up, and then the reapplying the same. This process of releasing and applying brakes in succession is known as pressure modulation. Modern ABS not only prevent the wheels from locking up in emergency braking, they also ensure steering ability. These systems can modulate the brake pressure almost 15 times per second! That means applying, releasing and reapplying brakes consecutively 15 times, and doing all that in just one second.
ABS monitors the vehicle speed and the speed of the wheels accurately and then controls the brake fluid pressure to prevent locking up wheels under heavy braking. Although ABS prevent complete locking up of wheels, in reality, it does allow some wheel slip to achieve the best possible braking in all conditions.
Under emergency braking with ABS, drivers apply the brake pedal firmly and hold it meanwhile the ABS regulates the brake. A typical modern-day ABS comprises of an electronic control unit, a sensor on each wheel, an electro-hydraulic pump and pressure accumulator. All these work in a tandem to decide when the antilock operation is required, and control the same.
2. Autonomous Emergency Braking. (AEB)
A number of crashes are caused due to late braking and/or braking with insufficient force. A driver may brake too late for several reasons; she is distracted or inattentive: visibility is lower, for instance when driving in a heavy fog or situations like rainy storms, when the driver ahead brakes suddenly or a pedestrian crosses road without paying attention. Often, the driver doesn’t apply sufficient braking force to avoid a crash or does not apply brake at all because there is not enough time to react.
AEB systems improve safety in two ways; firstly, they help to avoid accidents by identifying critical situations earlier and alerting the driver. Secondly, in case of an avoidable crash, they reduce its severity by lowering the speed of collision, besides preparing the vehicle and restraint system for impact. Most AEB systems use radar. stereo camera and LiDAR-based technology to identify potential collision objects in front of the car.
3. Lane departure warning system.
Quite often, a driver may unintentionally veer towards the edge of the lane on the road. By the driver realizes that the car is a potentially dangerous situation., the wheels of the car may already on the grass or gravel at the side of the road, or even in the path of an oncoming traffic. This sudden, late realization by the driver may prompt a panic response that can often lead to loss of control and ultimately a crash.
4. Heads up display.
HUD or heads-up display is a digital transparent display that is projected onto the windshield of a vehicle, without requiring the drivers to take their eyes off road. This technology was initially developed specially for aircraft pilots.
As the name suggests, HUD allows the driver to view information with the head positioned “up” and looking forward. This eliminates the need to look away from the road.5. Hill start assist/ hill descent control.
Driving a car up or down a hill certainly requires more skill than normal city driving: perhaps it requires more technical support too.
The hill start assist is a system that prevents the car from rolling down the slope while the driver is trying to move the vehicle from standing start. This technology is quite similar to a common driving technique known as handbrake hill start, in which driver engages the handbrake of the car momentarily while pulling away on an inclined surface.
Hill descent control is a mechanism that allows a smooth and descent down the hill, without the driver even needing to touch the brakes. It utilizes ABS system to monitor and control vehicles each speed, and it will apply the brake automatically in case of the vehicle accelerating without the driver’s input.
6. Electronic stability programme.
Also known as Electronic stability control, it is a generic term used for systems designed to improve a vehicle’s handling, particularly at the limits where the driver might lose control of the vehicle. ESP compares the drivers intended course of direction with the actual path of the vehicle in real time.
ESP regulates slip rates in longitudinal and lateral planes and reduces the danger of stability loss during braking, acceleration or steering under evasive manoeuvers. It can modulate braking forces on individual wheels to correct the wheels trajectory. It also ensures short braking distances even when road surfaces are different.
7. Pedestrian Airbag.
Perhaps the ingenious of all pedestrian safety technologies yet, the pedestrian airbag automatically inflates on impact to cover the windscreen and lessen the injuries, particularly to the pedestrians. Volvo is the first company to invent pedestrian airbag technology.
The airbag is designed to protect the pedestrian from accidental injuries at city speed from around 12 mph to 30 mph. The mechanism employs multiple sensors around the front to identify the type of collision, and then transmit the data to the cars onboard system for analysis. The airbag covers the lower part of the windscreen as well as the structural A-pillars, which are likely to cause the most severe injuries to head.
Feature image: youtube.