Ovation: Crash-Proof Cars Are Coming.
In the recent past, large electronic billboards have been appearing on the larger highways near my home. I’ve seen them before in other, larger, cities where commuters and local drivers seem to like the fact that they get a little extra information while they’re on the highway. The signs indicate how much travel time is involved to a particular destination and they explain delays. Occasionally, they’ll display an informational message designed for another purpose. Recently, the signs around town have been keeping a tally of state-wide traffic fatalities for the year.
It’s quite sad to watch this number grow. I assume that the statistics are accurate but, even if they’re not, the messages provide food for thought. We’re simply not as safe on the highways as we’d like to think we are. Cars and trucks are dangerous machines and that’s all there is to it.
What if someone could invent a car that wouldn’t crash? We’d all be so much safer!
The technology to create crash-proof automobiles is quietly becoming a reality. In fact, the 2013 Lexus LS460 will begin to arrive in the United States in November with an options “advanced pre-collision system”. When driving at speeds below 29 miles per hour, this new system uses radar and optical sensors to determine if a car is likely to collide with a pedestrian or another object. The system can even override a distracted, inattentive or impaired driver and bring the car to a stop prior to impact so it could prove especially helpful in reducing the amount of automobile-related injuries and deaths.
Will this be useful on the highways where speed limits are significantly higher than 29mph? If my commute is any indication, the answer is “absolutely”. It seems that, all too frequently, it only takes one accident to make four more occur as a result. Once traffic slows to 29mph, additional collisions could be avoided.
I was flabbergasted years ago when cars smart enough to parallel park hit the market but I think this is amazing. Unfortunately, I suspect that the system will be cost prohibitive for some time but I’m hopeful that, eventually, it will no longer be optional. After all, seat belts were optional before it was determined that they saved lives. Maybe the same will be said of the new crash-proof cars. I certainly hope to see them behind me all the time.
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