How can connected car technology keep you safe?

We live in an increasingly connected world, technology is having an impact on many aspects of our everyday lives, and nowhere is this more true than in our cars. In the past few years, we have gone from having not much more than a stereo and a trip recorder to cars that are beginning to resemble computers on wheels.

Image Credit

Electronic control

While the focus for the driver and passengers might be a touchscreen that provides navigation, communication and entertainment systems, car technology goes much deeper. As most of the vehicle’s systems – such as the throttle and brakes – are now controlled electronically, it becomes possible for the computer to take over some of the functions, either in an emergency or to provide some degree of autonomous operation.

Even relatively modest cars are now being equipped with technology such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking – technology that would only have been seen in expensive executive models a couple of years ago. These use radar sensors at the front of the vehicle to keep it a safe distance from other traffic, allowing it to be stationary in traffic and avoiding low-speed collisions.

A further refinement is to fit cameras that detect white lines and warn the driver when the car is wandering out of its lane, with the latest versions even able to gently brake an opposite wheel to pull the car back on line.

Image Credit

Emergency measures

Many drivers now choose to fit in-car cameras to record details of accidents, while the emergency services increasingly have body worn cameras from suppliers such as to gather evidence as they work. Soon writing out reports for insurance companies could be a thing of the past, as the car will automatically gather the necessary details and send them off.

By linking the car’s systems to the mobile phone network, vehicles can now automatically call the emergency services and pinpoint your location in the event of an accident. The same technology can be used to summon a breakdown service in the event of problems.

So-called ‘black boxes’ that track how the car is being used are also becoming increasingly popular – especially with younger drivers – as a way of keeping insurance costs affordable. They can also help to locate vehicles that have been stolen.