Cutting-edge car tech cuts risks for riders

Car makers continue to develop and release in-car technology features designed to reduce bike and car crashes on our roads.

The latest is driver-assistance technology by Japanese car maker Honda, which has the potential to reduce incidences of dooring and limit crashes caused by driver blind spots.  

The system uses 360-degree radar, sonar and camera sensors to monitor the environment around the car, and observe what is happening in the driver’s seat.

This means there are no blind spots: the system is aware of surrounding traffic and the road ahead, and can alert the driver to close and/or approaching vehicles, and suggest options such as when to safely change lanes.

While these features are welcome on passenger vehicles, they will become an essential component on commercial vehicles and trucks where driver vision is limited.

Dooring risks will be significantly reduced as the parked vehicle will detect traffic approaching from behind and flash a light on the front pillar or side mirrors to assist occupants to recognise an approaching vehicle.

This feature already exists in some cars, but Honda has taken an extra step: when the system detects the risk of a collision between the door about to be opened and the vehicle passing by, and audible alarm sounds to alert the passengers.

In a major advance, the Honda technology also monitors the health of the driver via camera and steering wheel input, and can intervene in an emergency.

In recent years there have been a number of tragic road deaths, including those of bike riders, attributable to diabetic drivers suffering hypoglycaemia episodes and losing control of their vehicle.

With this new feature, when the driver is unresponsive the car decelerates and stops within the same lane, alerting other road users by using hazard lights and the horn. It is also capable of alerting a call centre to the emergency.

The system also relies on high-definition maps which enable it to more precisely understand the position of the vehicle in relation to the road, and help correct driver errors.

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