The Future of Vehicle Safety

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Today there are more vehicle safety features available than ever, but there are major advancements currently being developed. Automotive technology has come a far way and continues to develop new ideas which serve to make us safer and drive new car sales. CNN recently set out to document vehicle safety technology in a report named the "Future of Driving." It chronicles 10 future innovations intended to help avoid car accidents and reduce injuries.

Vehicle Safety Developments

Did you know the first seat belt patent was registered in 1885? Seat belts were optional equipment for decades following. The first law mandating the use of seat belts did not take affect until 1968. The first patent for an airbag was granted in 1953, but they were not required until in new car manufacturing until 1989. Considering the historical time lapsed from creation to adoption, we should expect to see these innovations as standard equipment any time soon. Imagine you're driving and your car alerts you the car next to you was going to change lanes. It is being called vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or V2V for short. Short-range safety signals are continually sent detecting potential hazards such as another vehicle entering an intersection, a pedestrian, a patch of ice or even their driver speeding too fast around a curve. Driver monitoring is developing in several forms. One application is monitoring the drivers sweat to determine alcohol in the blood. Another monitors the drivers head position to indicate distracted driving. There is even testing of electrocardiograph sensors in the steering wheel that can pick up early signs that a driver is having a heart attack. Airbags may find a new home. Early phase testing of external airbags has begun. A system of cameras and radar on the car would detect when a collision was imminent and send a signal to the airbag to deploy outside the car. The ideas is to absorb some of the energy of the collision before the vehicle's frame was struck. The external deployment could potentially protect pedestrians and cyclist too by reducing or eliminate their person from striking the vehicle. What may be the most exciting vehicle safety in development is self-driving cars. In addition to navigating to your destination utilizing GPS signals, data is continually analyzed from an array of sensors, cameras and radar systems to react to current driving conditions and make split second decision to avoid accidents. The companies developing this technology say it is too soon to say when it may go into production, but that is okay considering consumers are expressing a lack of trust in their cars driving themselves.

Vehicle Safety Law Suits

Despite the development in vehicle safety technology, the possibility of being injured in a car wreck remains. These innovation represent the possibility of new defendants in car accident lawsuits. For example, let's say a driver changes lanes without checking and crashes into another vehicle. Today the driver is held liable for personal injuries and vehicular damage, but what if an onboard technology designed to alert the driver failed? It will be interesting to see how liability will be assigned when such technologies fail.

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