Being out in the field, paramedics will tell you that most car accidents could have been avoided. In fact, currently there are many laws being discussed regarding the banning of cellphone use while driving. Many people are texting and driving, and it has caused death. Isn’t a life worth more than 160 characters (the total length that a text message can be)?
There are car companies that are working on making advances in technology that can drastically decrease the number of accidents each year. The fact that we’re not all jumping on this advancement seems pretty foolish to me. “Car Crash Stats: There were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States in 2005. The financial cost of these crashes is more than 230 Billion dollars. 2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed. About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States — one death every 13 minutes.”
This radar technology is not something that I have used, or even seen in use, but knowing that it exists and is already in at least a couple of cars is enough for me.
How does it work? I’ll let someone whose used the technology over 11,000 miles explain, Mr. Robert Scoble:
I pull onto a road, say freeway 280, and I set the cruise control. I set the top speed the car should ever go. Say 80 mph. But it doesn’t go 80 unless there’s no cars in front of me. Usually in Silicon Valley there’s traffic. So, the car in that case follows the car in front of me.
But they just slammed on their brakes to avoid something. What does my car do? It slams on its brakes too. It is so reliable I no longer impulsively reach for my brakes. Let’s say the car in front of me speeds up after slamming on its brakes. My car speeds up too. It’s like there is a rope between my car and theirs. It is like nothing you’ve ever experienced.
This is an expensive technology, but I have a feeling that if enough people buy it, the technology will advance, and the manufacturers will be able to produce more of it for less, increasing use and decreasing costs. The result: more lives saved.
There are many problems with getting the technology out to the people, and it seems that people are afraid of assisted driving technologies. Personally, I don’t even like that you can turn the radar technology off.
I hope that, in the future, installation kits become available for current cars, and all new cars come with it, not as an extra but as an integral part. I’d love to see legislation that makes it illegal for new cars to be produced without this, or similar, technology included. I have a feeling that it could happen in the next five to ten years, if our flying cars don’t come first.
What do you think?
Here’s Ford’s Chief Safety Engineer, Steve Kozak, explaining the technology in two parts. (Remember, Ford didn’t take any government hand-outs, and didn’t want to. They wanted to prove they could make it through innovation, and have done so.)