Automakers and suppliers are developing systems that will use a head-up display that can track a driver’s eye movements to ensure vital information is projected in their line of sight no matter where they look or how far they sit from the steering wheel. - Photo via Unsplash.com/Alessio Lin.

Automakers and suppliers are developing systems that will use a head-up display that can track a driver’s eye movements to ensure vital information is projected in their line of sight no matter where they look or how far they sit from the steering wheel.

Photo via Unsplash.com/Alessio Lin.

Today’s advanced driver assistance systems are already preventing collisions, but more powerful processors and sensors will usher in the next generation of safety advances, which will go even further to save lives and prevent injuries, according to a recent article from Consumer Reports (CR). 

Fleet owners always have safety top-of-mind. Here are three of the crash-prevention advances to expect soon, according to the CR report: 

Augmented Reality — These systems put vital information in the driver’s sight without directing their eyes away from the road, like standard gauges and other visual warnings do. 

Automakers and suppliers are developing systems that will use a head-up display that can track a driver’s eye movements to ensure vital information is projected in their line of sight no matter where they look or how far they sit from the steering wheel. For example, these systems can show exactly where a navigation system says to turn, highlight a pedestrian waiting to cross, or warn of a stopped car ahead, according to CR. 

Thermal Cameras — The big advantage to these cameras versus vision-based cameras is they are much better at detecting pedestrians in the dark. As many fleet managers know, pedestrian fatalities are up 46% over the past decade and 80% of pedestrian fatalities happen after dark, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Using an infrared heat sensor, thermal cameras can detect people in the dark or in low-light situations, even when they are attired in dark apparel, notes the report. Expect to see these cameras in new vehicles as early as 2025.  

Advanced Driver Monitoring — The goal of this technology is to make sure motorists are focused on the road by using a combination of automation and sensors. Some of these systems can also detect whether a driver is unresponsive — due to a medical emergency, impairment or drowsiness, for example — and safely slow the vehicle and call for help, according to CR. For example, GM vehicles with Super Cruise can slow down and call for help if a driver is unresponsive.

CR’s experts say monitoring systems should at least be active when both speed and steering assistance are used because the driver risks becoming complacent. Moreover, the technology can also be used to detect behavior related to a health problem. In fact, NHTSA data shows an estimated 20,000 drivers annually crashed because of a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, seizure, or blackout behind the wheel.

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