Technology is everywhere today. This is widely perceived as a good thing, but the public’s perception changes when it comes to driving. Technology in combination with driving is often seen as a detriment and a cause of danger because it causes people to multi-task, something that they shouldn’t do while operating a vehicle. While app developers are working on ways to keep drivers from taking their hands and eyes off the road, car makers are also fiercely competing to come up with ways to combat technology-related accidents and help distracted drivers stay focused.
Some of the anti-texting apps available nowadays include AT&T’s DriveMode, which automatically kicks in once your vehicle begins moving and silences all incoming text messages. It also sends an autoreply stating you’re behind the wheel and unable to communicate right now. There are other similar apps on the market like SafeDrive, Cellcontrol, TextLimit, LifeSaver, and ItCanWait.
Backup cameras and blindspot monitoring are two other ways that technology can keep drivers and pedestrians safer. People can now essentially see what’s on all sides, including behind them, with some cars even employing a 360-degree surround view, like the Acura MDX.
Being able to access help when needed is essential in potentially life-threatening situations. OnStar is a perfect example of an in-car communication system that lets drivers speak directly with another human instantly to get roadside assistance and other emergency aid.
Some cars are taking the reins when it comes to emergency braking and driving in general. Automatic braking systems have cameras to help drivers see better, and they employ sensors that react when they detect an obstacle approaching, just in case the driver misses it. The logic behind this is that a computer’s reflexes might be faster than a human’s. Some of these crash avoidance techniques use a laser radar called LIDAR which sends out a signal that pings objects to determine a vehicle’s distance and speed. Fully automated self-driving cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction, thanks to visionaries like Elon Musk. But it isn’t just Tesla and Google’s Waymo in the driver’s seat these days. There are now more than 46 companies throwing their proverbial hats into the autonomous driving ring.
Of course, the ultimate goal of all of these endeavors is to save lives. With all of the seemingly never-ending advents in technology, it gets harder for people to put their gadgets away while sitting behind the wheel. The Department of Transportation (DOT) even recognizes that self-driving technology will eventually become the norm, and they’ve updated their guidance on how to smartly incorporate it into our world.