Drivers are the weakest link when it comes to driving safely, according to Jason Forcier, Bosch regional president of electronics.
What do vehicles have to avoid have a crash?
In avoidance, the first equipment was ABS brakes. That stands for Anti-locking brakes. No matter hard you push the brake pedal, the wheels will not lock up. When the wheels do lock up, it increasing stopping distance and take away the ability to steer you vehicle. ABS was introduced in high end vehicles and now is on all vehicles sold in this country.
The next wonderful avoidance devise installed was stability control. This devise has the ability to sense through electronics that you vehicles is in a slide. Using the brake system, it will apply the brake on one wheel to help bring your vehicle out of the slide. I have driven a vehicle with stability control disabled and then working, it really works well.
Some vehicles have a “heads up” display superimposed on the windshield so the driver can see things that normally can’t be seen, more at night.
Lane change detection systems are becoming more common, a camera looks at the lines on the road and if you drift out of your lane without a turn signal on, it will warn you.
Blind spot detection sensors are being used so if you start changing lanes into a vehicle, a warning will be given to the driver.
One of my favorites is forward looking radar that detects that closing speed indicates a crash so through the magic of electronics, will either start putting on your brakes or will “prime” the brakes for an emergency stop. These devices will even amplify the pressure applied to the brake pedal so stopping happens quicker.
One of the more common reasons for crashes on freeways is driver fatigue, that is going to sleep. A select few vehicles have a camera that observes the driver and will “wake” them up when the head nods off.
Passenger jets have “drive by wire” controls now. This means there so no longer any mechanical linkage between the control inputs and flaps of the plane. In most newer vehicles, the gas pedal is just hooked to electronics and a control unit controls the amount of power the engine get. It use to be a cable went from the gas pedal to the carburetor and the more you pushed the gas pedal, the more the throttle was opened.
In 2013, Infinity has a “drive by wire” for the steering. Yes, a sensor that knows where the steering wheel is turned and a motor on the steering gear that will turn your front wheels. Why? So the control units can take more control of your car, make better decisions then the driver.
For example, nudge you back in your lane or take over in a slide.
For you information, there are redundant system for safety and still a mechanical link that can be activated as a failsafe.
A prediction that will happen in the future, is the ability for “your” car to know where other cars are in your area. If you are driving and come across a green light, your car may slows down or stops because it knows that another car is running a red light.
My first thoughts are, these control units are taking away my ability to control my vehicle but the facts are, drivers are the weakest link when it comes to driving safely.