Cars Drive Themselves Better Than You Do

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Monash University researchers say accidents on our roads could be "significantly reduced" if we embrace automation - and it doesn't even have to be "all the way".

Even at it's bare minimum, with the technology we have now, cars drive themselves better than we do.

In the Safety Benefits of Cooperative ITS and Automated Driving report, researchers looked at the benefits of a range of automated driving technologies. We're talking features like forward collision warning, curve speed warning, intersection movement assist, right turn assist, lane keeping assist and auto emergency braking.

"Australia's road transport agencies see connected and automated driving as a key component of achieving road safety trauma reductions," said Austroads Chief Executive, Nick Koukoulas of the report - which was funded by his organisation.

But these benefits are reliant on these kinds of automated safety features becoming standard in all light passenger vehicles.

MUARC Senior Research Fellow Dr David Logan, a lead member of the study, says full adoption of "key automated driving and connected vehicle safety applications" could prevent anywhere from 4,100 to 6,500 fatal and serious injury crashes in Australia, and 310 to 485 fatal and serious injury crashes in New Zealand every year.

If Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems - which use wireless communications to alert drivers, intervene in dangerous situations, reduce traffic congestion and increase system efficiency - were adopted in every car on our roads, there would be 35 to 50 percent less side-on crashes at intersections, according to the report.

Head-on crashes could be reduced by 40 per cent.

Automated driving apps - where as aspect of driving (like parking assist) is "taken over" were shown to reduce accidents by up to 50 per cent.

But it looks like we'll be waiting quite some time before this becomes a reality - the researchers say it'll be at least 25 years before automated driving and C-ITS applications are a part of every car on the road.

You can read the full report here.

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Comments

    I'm struggling to see the link to automated driving. Cruise control was never considered "automated driving". Nor was automatic transmission, anti-skid braking systems or fly-by-wire. Why do "forward collision warning, curve speed warning, intersection movement assist, right turn assist, lane keeping assist and auto emergency braking" get associated with automated driving? They're all driver assistance features, and this case happen to be safety features. Tremendous technology with real purpose. Unlike automated driving, which suffers from a severe practicality handicap.

      Automated driving applications are those where at least some aspect of a safety-critical control function (e.g. steering, accelerator or braking) can occur without direct driver input. Cruise control and automatic transmissions are not automated driving, but adaptive cruise control is. Anti-skid braking systems and electronic stability control (ESC) are low level driver assistance technologies because they augment the driver rather than initiate an action.

      The technologies we investigated in our report either provide warnings to the driver based on communications or sensor technology or intervene automatically prior to a crash. They also have a direct benefit in preventing fatal and serious injury crashes.

      Furthermore, the technologies we identified will form part of a suite of functions that fully-automated vehicles will need to fulfil to operate effectively.

      -- David Logan.

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