Vehicle Safety Technology (VST) in the automotive industry refers to special technology (advanced driver-assistance systems) developed to ensure the safety and security of automobiles and passengers. The term encompasses a broad umbrella of projects and devices within the automotive world. Notable examples include car-to-computer communication devices which utilize GPS tracking features, geo-fencing capabilities, remote speed sensing, theft deterrence, damage mitigation, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
The vehicle safety technology has its roots in the 18th century. It started in the automobile industry as a response to the attempts of the legislators, who were working towards reducing the number of road accidents. The initial safety features were the safety glass, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, seat belts, and padded dashboards. A scientific approach to vehicle safety began in 1934 when General Motors conducted the first crash barrier test. Gradually, the existing systems were stabilized followed by introduction of disc brakes and anti-lock braking system. Introduction of hi-tech safety systems began in the year 1995 with Electronic Stability Control (ESC). The lane departure warning system was introduced in the year 1999 and the radar assisted adaptive cruise control was introduced in 2005. Theses advanced hi-tech systems are not standard parts in all cars.
Driver drowsiness detection is a safety system in the vehicles that helps avoiding accidents caused by drowsiness of the driver. This safety system monitors the steering pattern, vehicle position in lane, driver's eye or face and the physiological measurements like brain activity, muscle movement and heart rate through sensors. When drowsiness is detected, the driver is alerted and directed to a safety point on the roadside.
One method for reducing automobile accidents involves allowing vehicles to communicate with each other. This technology has been researched since 1997, and in its current form was endorsed by the National Transportation Safety Board. Wireless car-to-car communication would allow for instant accurate sensing of distance between vehicles and blind spot monitoring. Researchers at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence indicate that the 34,000 preventable auto deaths in the United States could be dramatically reduced by these technologies. In June 2013, a large-scale test of this technology was completed in Washington D.C. under the direction of United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps to avoid a crash by significantly reducing the risk of your car going into a skid during a sudden emergency manoeuvre such as avoiding an obstacle in front of you. ESC identifies this risk early and stabilizes the car by braking individual wheels. However, the stability of the vehicle will be drastically changed because the manoeuvre could be very troublesome at times
Warning and Emergency Braking Systems detect at an early stage the danger of an accident with the vehicle in front of you. In the case of a potential collision, they warn you about the danger, and when there is no reaction to the warning, the technologies activate the brakes together with systems such as seat belt pretension to avoid or mitigate a crash. Advanced Brake Warning alerts the driver as to how hard the driver in front of them is pressing down on the brakes.
Blind Spot Monitoring helps you avoid a crash with a vehicle in the lane next to you by continuously screening the blind spots to the side of your vehicle. This system uses ultrasonic or radar sensors to detect the vehicles approaching at your blind spots and alerts the driver through vibrations on the steering and a yellow indicator on the mirror.
Lane Support Systems can assist and warn you when you unintentionally leave the road lane or when you change lanes without indication. Sometimes a moment of inattention is enough to make your vehicle stray from its lane. The systems monitor the position of the vehicle in the road lane and while Lane Departure Warning System warns you if the car unintentionally wanders from the path, Lane Keeping Support helps you correct the course of your car. Lane Departure Warning System has been recommended for inclusion in all next-generation cars by the United States government.
Speed Alert helps you keep the correct speed and avoid speed related traffic crashes and speeding. Speed Alert informs you about the speed limits and tells you when you are about to exceed them. This safety system detects the position of the car through GPS and compares the speed of the car with the speed limits mentioned in database for speed limit. The advanced version of this system will be the intelligent speed adaptation that can automatically slow down the vehicle if the speed limit exceeds.
Historically, accidents where vehicle flip over have been the most damaging to life and property. Therefore, new technology has been developed to allow vehicles to prevent rollover. When certain essential factors are detected, including sudden swerving and undue acceleration around corners, the vehicle automatically reduces speed to prevent rollover.
Safety systems in vehicles are important to avoid accidents and safeguard human life. The concept of personal vehicle resulted in manufacturing of multiple vehicles. However, with the comfort of a personal vehicle comes the disadvantage of road risks. To avoid risks, it is recommended that the vehicles are manufacturing with basic safety systems. Recognizing the importance of safety, laws are enforced by government on manufacturers and users to avoid