In the last decade, we have witnessed a new generation of car safety systems known as “active safety systems.” These are intelligent systems that have the power to prevent accidents just before they occur. Alongside the great promise of active safety, there is also a dark side. What is it about, and how can SaverOne change the picture?
Since the invention of the car in the late 19th century, there has been an internal arms race in the automotive industry. Cars are becoming faster, more accessible, and more common, which increases the risk of road accidents, and therefore the safety components in vehicles are becoming more sophisticated. The seat belt, the ABS, the airbag, and other measures caused a safety revolution that reduced casualties in road accidents. But the significant factor in road accidents is the human factor, and in recent decades, its conduct has only increased the danger.
One of the things that make us human is that we are bound to make mistakes from time to time. But while driving, a mistake can cost a human life. At the same time, the world has become digital, global, and virtual. We have become accustomed to being connected to technology, and driving comes at a heavy price.
This phenomenon is known as cellular distractions and has had a heavy statistical expression on the number of road deaths. Although lawmakers worldwide have responded relatively quickly to the problem and enacted laws banning the dangerous use of cell phones while driving, cell phone distractions are still a significant factor in road accidents.
Therefore, in the previous decade, we started to meet safety systems that directly addressed the human factor for the first time. We are talking about primarily alert-focused systems that detect a dangerous approach or lane departure and draw the driver’s attention in a series of beeps and flashes.
Although these systems gave a specific value, they did not manage to deal with the problem of distractions – the systems beeped, and people were still hurt. It was clear that another step needed to be taken, leading us into the age of active safety.
Take command instead of the driver
The rationale for active safety states that because the driver is not alert, an intelligent system should take matters into its own hands, enforce it, and avoid danger. As a result of this approach, different types of active safety systems were born:
- Adaptive cruise control
Cruise control systems are not new in the landscape. In the early seventies, we encountered systems that allow the vehicle to cover distances at a constant speed without the driver straining. The essential difference is that the new generation cruise control systems also know how to navigate and include sensors that detect the distance from the vehicle in front of us. If the driver does not respond in time, the adaptive cruise control will take over the brakes and bring the car to deceleration in case of need for a complete stop.
- Active braking assist
An active braking assist system is based on the same technology described above but focuses on braking. The system is very efficient in slow travel and traffic jams. It is an effective way to prevent your bumper from colliding with the vehicle’s bumper in front of you if you dreamed (or liked Instagram).
A system that makes sure you stay in the lane and maintains a constant margin from the curb even if the driver falls asleep and takes his hands off the steering wheel.
The Autonomous Driving Catch
Active safety systems are a great solution. Indeed, in recent years, we are increasingly encountering these systems and other systems that operate on a similar rationale.
Some vehicles have combined several such active features (cruise control on a pre-determined route with dynamic braking and active steering assist) that create the illusion of autonomous driving.
Today, autonomous driving is the “big elephant in the room,” which is only now beginning to be addressed. Although vehicle manufacturers are careful to point out that the vehicle has advanced active protection systems does not mean that the driver is released from responsibility for what is done on the road; in practice, those vehicles provide an experience that feels like autonomous driving to the driver.
Indeed, in most cases, the vehicle will know how to drive safely and learn how to deal with unforeseen scenarios. Only that on the road “in most cases” it is not enough. Sometimes you need one scenario that the system does not know how to cope with to end the trip in the emergency room (or worse), which is indeed what happens. In the last two years, we have witnessed hundreds of accidents, with many casualties, of cars in autonomous driving mode. In most cases, the presence of an alert driver at the wheel would have prevented the accident. Unfortunately, most of the drivers killed in these accidents were not really behind the wheel but on Facebook or WhatsApp.
A new approach to active safety
The solution offered by SaverOne meets the needs of active safety but in a way that does not deprive the driver of the use of vehicle systems, but only the ability to be immersed in cellular distractions. This condition leaves the focus on driving and essentially prevents the phenomenon of over-reliance on other active safety components.
In doing so, SaverOne restores the balance needed for driving. SaverOne’s activity is reflected in the fact that it does not take over the vehicle. Instead, it blocks all dangerous applications in the mobile phone in the driver’s area, thus preventing cellular distractions.
Since installing many active safety systems grants a taxing discount while purchasing a new car, we can hope that the SaverOne system will also receive a similar status – then there will be more vehicles on Israeli roads that enjoy an actual envelope of active safety.