New Technologies Help Prevent Auto Collisions, Promote Safety
Posted Monday, Feb 11, 2013 by
In decades past, auto safety technology was about helping cars — and passengers — survive accidents. Bumpers, safety cages, crumple zones, seatbelts and airbags are all examples of “passive” systems that help minimize damage in a collision.
But today, more and more cars, trucks and SUVs have “active” safety systems that help drivers avoid accidents in the first place. All take advantage of the advanced computer hardware, software and sensory equipment that engineers have developed over the past decade.
Here are some of the computer-aided active safety features available on many of today’s cars — maybe even yours!
Blind Spot Warning Systems — All vehicles have “blind spots” that are hidden from both their rear- and side-view mirrors. When changing lanes, you’re always supposed to check these spots — usually in the four and eight o’clock positions — before making such a maneuver. Unfortunately, many people don’t bother to do this. And those who do, have to take their eyes off the road ahead, which can be equally dangerous in heavy, fast-moving traffic. Modern radar-powered blind-spot warning systems allow you to change lanes safely by issuing a sharp, audible warning should you start to move into a space already occupied by another, perhaps unseen, vehicle.
Lane Departure Warning Systems — Driver fatigue is a major cause of many accidents. Lane departure warning systems fight this with small computer-aided cameras that track the vehicle’s relationship to the lines on the road. Should the vehicle start to drift outside its lane — without the turn signal being engaged — a light/audible warning is triggered, hopefully startling the tired driver back into wakefulness.
Driver Fatigue Warning Systems — Getting straight to the problem (above), these dash-mounted systems use cameras and infrared sensors to track your eye movements and pupil dilation while you drive. Should you start to nod off, the device will issue a sharp alarm. Perhaps you’ll then have enough sense to pull off the road.
Electronic Stability Control — Rollovers are a major cause of auto crash fatalities. Top-heavy SUVs are particularly prone to this problem. Electronic stability control combines decades-old Automatic Braking System (ABS) technology with modern sensors, software and hydraulic systems to automatically compensate if you over steer or under steer when making a sudden turn.
Distance Control Assist — Remember how your Driver’s Ed teacher taught you to stay several car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you in case traffic ahead comes to a sudden stop? Well, this system uses forward-facing radar to determine the distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you and then, based on your speed, use the brake and accelerator to maintain a safe interval. A similar system, Emergency Brake Assist, uses this same forward-facing radar to hit the brakes if traffic does stop suddenly — and you haven’t.
Adaptive Headlights — It’s a simple idea, really: Put the headlights on a swivel so they move in the direction of a turn instead of always pointing straight ahead, thus revealing hidden dangers earlier. Linking them electronically to the steering mechanism makes for a smooth, fluid and intuitive experience.
Night Vision Assist — At night, animals, people and vehicles outside your headlight beams can still pose safety hazards. Night Vision Assist uses infrared technology similar to that used by our Special Forces to detect the infrared heat signatures of animate and inanimate objects hidden by darkness and display them on a dashboard screen.
Curve Speed Warning — Going too fast into a tight turn can cause real trouble. This system links your speedometer to a GSP system that foresees tight turns ahead and warns you if you’re approaching them too fast.
Of course, all of these electronic marvels are just stepping-stones to automobile engineers’ Holy Grail: the driverless car. Don’t expect to see one of those at your local auto dealership for at least 10 years.
Train to Become an Auto Collision Repair Specialist with WyoTech
Of course, even with the most advanced computer technologies, tens of thousands auto accidents occur every year. In response, we have an auto collision repair industry that generates $23 billion annually and employs more than 800,000 men and women nationwide.* Is this an industry you’d like to join? If so, you can get the education and training you need to enter the auto collision repair field at WyoTech.
WyoTech is one of America’s leading schools preparing students for jobs in the auto industry. WyoTech offers the Collision/Refinishing Technology course at its campuses in Blairsville, Pa.; Laramie, Wyo. At whichever campus you choose, you’ll enjoy hands-on training in a modern workshop setting. Your teachers will be industry pros. You’ll get to learn and practice using the same equipment used by most 21st century auto repair shops.
When you graduate, you can get further support from WyoTech’s Career Service professionals. They can help you with everything from writing a winning resume to practicing interview techniques to setting up interviews with local employers.
Get More Information
For more information on WyoTech’s collision/refinishing and repair career training, contact WyoTech today.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
* Source: U.S. Census — Motor Vehicle Accidents — 1990-2009: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1103.pdf