RESEARCH: Technology could cut vehicle crashes significantly

Up to 90 percent of all vehicle crashes could be eliminated if existing transportation technologies were implemented in vehicles and on roads, according to speakers at a recent conference held by the IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association.
But the cost and liability-related concerns of such technologies – which include sensors to detect drowsy drivers, lane departure warning systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems – must fall in order to make them widely used, the association says.
“Today’s advanced embedded systems, sensors, microprocessors and control technologies have made our vehicles and roads significantly safer, but integrating them into our vehicles and roads has been a slow process,” said Dr. Azim Eskandarian, an IEEE member and director of the Center for Intelligent Systems Research at George Washington University. “However, within 10 years, as technology costs continue to fall and implementation of these technologies increases, we could see significant improvements in vehicle safety, efficiency, and energy conservation.”
Another speaker said that self-driven vehicles, such as one that recently completed a 8,000-mile trip from Italy to China, will be ready for use in non-urban environments within five to eight years.
Indeed, the head of GM’s global research said at a conference last week that vehicles that partially drive themselves will be available by the middle of the decade, with more sophisticated self-driving systems by the end of the decade.
“Future generation safety systems will eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they’re even aware of a hazardous situation,” GM’s Alan Taub said.