4 November 2019

The fleet industry is witnessing amazing leaps in vehicle-technology, and it won’t be long before fleets will start using autonomous vehicles. However, to get to that point, modern cars will require enhanced automated safety features. These will monitor the road and surrounding environment to tell the artificial intelligence (AI) controlling the vehicle to take action and avoid collisions.

The good news is that there are already a number of safety features available in cars today, with others soon be launched.

So what are currently available safety features and which ones can we expect in the near future?

Safety features that assist while driving

It is easy for drivers to become careless while driving if they are tired or on long journeys. While the right thing to do is to stop and rest for a while, this is not always a feasible option. Fleet drivers might be time-bound, and, in some cases, might not even be aware that they are tired.

In such cases, the car could monitor the road and warn the driver of dangers. Some safety features could even have the car take action without requiring human intervention.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Cruise control is a feature that allows the car to move at a prescribed speed. With adaptive cruise control, the car also monitors the speed of the vehicle in front of it. While maintaining the legal speed limit, it can then keep a safe distance by slowing down or speeding up autonomously.

Lane Assist

If a driver is distracted and the vehicle starts drifting out of its lane, lane assist warns the driver with a sound or chair vibration. It is also possible for the feature to become fully automated where the AI controls the course by adjusting the steering.

Autonomous Emergency Brakes

The sensors that monitor the vehicles in front for adaptive cruise control can also detect when there is an obstacle in the path. They can call in the autonomous emergency braking system to stop the car.

Electronic Stability Control

This feature tracks the car’s movement to predict if it is going to skid. It can prevent the car from skidding but will also take over the engine and brakes to control the car in case it does skid.

Blind Spot Monitoring

Blind spots can obscure other vehicles behind or next to the car. With blind spot monitoring, drivers no longer need to worry about what they can’t see as the sensors will ‘keep an eye out’ and alert the driver in case there is something outside their field of vision.

Driver touching a display of safety features

Safety features that assist in processes

Rear Cross-Traffic Assist

It can be difficult to see on-coming pedestrians or impediments if there is anything blocking the view while reversing. Rear cross-traffic assist is a feature that monitors the space behind the car when in reverse. It can then notify the driver if there is someone or something outside the line of sight.

Reverse Park Assist

Poorly executed parallel parking can lead to car damage, as well as endanger other vehicles in proximity. With reverse park assist, drivers will just have to press a button and keep a foot on the accelerator. The car will simply park itself.

Reversing Camera

While not an autonomous feature, a reversing camera supplements the rearview mirror to give the driver a better picture of the environment behind the car. It can be helpful when passengers block the view while reversing, and potentially lifesaving when small children or pets are hidden from the line of sight.

Other safety features you can expect in modern cars

Certain safety features are designed to make the overall driving experience safer and more convenient for the driver.

These features include:

Adaptive Headlights

Adaptive headlights adjust in line with the direction of the car, so oncoming drivers are not blinded by the glare. This feature is especially useful on winding roads and roads with dips.

Animal Detection

Using infrared and radar, cars will be able to detect animals on or near the road. This early warning system will prevent potential collisions, road-kills and damage to the car.

Airless Tyres

Punctured or burst tyres can affect the control of the car. But this is not a problem with airless tyres, which use sturdy rubber spokes to maintain the shape of the tyre.

Vehicle Control Apps

Using a mobile app, it will be possible to control the car and access certain functions remotely. This will allow drivers to pre-start the engine, control the temperature inside, and even remotely check if they locked the doors.

Infrared Headlights

When the visibility is low due to bad weather, infrared headlights will help drivers get a better view of the road.

Biometric Vehicle Access

Cars are rapidly approaching the point where unlocking or starting will require the owner’s fingerprint. This will ensure no unauthorised person uses the vehicle.

Active Health Monitoring

Low blood sugar, epileptic seizures, or abnormal blood pressure are dangerous for the driver, as well as for passengers and others on the road. With active health monitoring, the car will be able to monitor vital signs and alert the driver when required. It may even be able to monitor blood alcohol levels, preventing people from driving while drunk.

In summary, technology will help reduce the impact of human error on road safety. As more automation features are introduced, roads should become safer for everybody.

Further reading

If you want to learn more about our fleet management and leasing, employee benefits solutions, and driver services, call us on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.

Man driving car on a busy road with a safety display showing distance from car in front