Car Tech Designed with Seniors in Mind

Supply and demand go hand in hand. When there’s a need, it is only natural that the market responds by creating an appropriate product. In this case, that means designing a car with seniors in mind.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are more than forty-five million drivers over the age of sixty-five. This is relevant information, as this number is a significant increase from the years previous. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be another significant increase as Baby Boomers grow older.

All of this means that more people than ever face the ever-growing fear that they will not be able to transport themselves safely at some point in their futures. The ability to drive places is integral for independent living – in some states more than others. Current solutions have proved not to be enough, so it is time to look towards auto manufacturers.

Enhancing Controls

One option that car manufacturers are considering is enhancing the controls already available to drivers. These options include access, visibility, and management. In other words, they’re working to make the cars more comfortable and approachable. While this will undoubtedly help, it is but one side of the solution.

Accident Prevention

These days, many car manufacturers have been working hard at developing collision prevention tech. This tech includes rear and side cameras, automatic crash notifications, blind spot warnings, adaptive headlights, and more. 

Taking it a step further are companies such as Nissan Murano, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo S60. Their models have an additional feature available to detect when a driver is becoming drowsy and prompt a warning. 

Injury Reduction

Sometimes it isn’t possible to avoid an accident, and that’s where the next round of research has been focused: reducing injuries. The University of Michigan and Wayne State University have been working on reducing injuries seniors receive during car accidents. These studies understand that older bones are more fragile and prone to further damage during a crash. The ultimate goal is to design a car that will help protect passengers as much as possible. 

Emergency Response

AAA makes driving safer for everyone, as they offer immediate response times for broken-down vehicles and accidents. Other companies have followed suit, making it easier to reach out for assistance when on the road.

Self-Driving Cars

While self-driving cars have yet to be perfected, there’s no doubt that they will help seniors once fully available to the public. Realistically, self-driving vehicles will make everyone safer in the long run; this is why companies have been pushing so hard to perfect the technology.

Radar Tech for Self-Driving Cars

The push to create a functional self-driving car has always been there – but the last decade has seen increased pressure. Drivers and manufacturers alike want to see the technology work.

Over the years, many different attempts have been made, with varying forms of technology backing the experiments. Until recently, the preferential sensor was LIDAR, but now RADAR is taking the industry by storm.

Given how dated the technology itself is, it might be hard to believe that RADAR is the new big technology on the self-driving platform. But this application is new – and it is giving manufacturers a reason to hope.

The Need for Self-Driving Cars

The past decade has brought about hundreds of different inventions to make driving safer – for everyone. Unfortunately, none of the current technology in place can counteract the distractable nature of the driver.

GHSA has compiled a list of statistics that proves pedestrian deaths via vehicle collisions have drastically increased during the pandemic. This is even though fewer people are driving than ever before. It is believed that many of these accidents were preventable. Following investigations, many drivers were found to be speeding, distracted, or under the influence.

In other words, the best way to create safe driving technology is by perfecting self-driving cars. 

LIDAR vs. RADAR

As mentioned before, up until recently, LIDAR was the preferred option for applied autonomy. LIDAR stands for Light Imaging Detection and Ranging, and it uses light pulses to map the surroundings.

Conversely, RADAR uses radio waves as a way of mapping surroundings. LIDAR had been preferred for its higher rate of accuracy. However, it has a few significant drawbacks. LIDAR isn’t as accurate during night hours, inclement weather, is expensive, and as early results have shown us: dealing with sudden obstacles on the road.

RADAR In Self-Driving Cars

RADAR first found its way into the automotive industry in the 1990s due to the variety of uses it provides. RADAR systems are tough, which is always a benefit for any automotive part, and they’re less expensive (compared to LIDAR).

The rising benefits of RADAR don’t stop there. RADAR systems can instantaneously measure the velocity of objects, which is critical for self-driving vehicles. Without this ability, it would be impossible to safely navigate a road full of other cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

RADAR also benefits from functioning during inclement weather and has less risk of damage should it be exposed to dirt. There is still a long way to go when it comes to creating the perfect self-driving vehicle, but RADAR is bringing us one step closer. 

How Advancing Car Tech Can Prevent Drunk Driving

The drive to create new and safer ways to travel is still going strong – especially in the automotive industry. Each year new advances come out, from better seatbelts to collision prevention features and cameras.

Most recently, the government has been encouraging automakers to develop a new line of safe cars: cars that will automatically detect whether the driver is drunk and prevent them from getting on the road.

Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act was introduced in April of 2021 as part of a larger bill. This infrastructure bill encompasses many concerns and has a one trillion dollar budget alongside the proposed changes.

One of those proposed changes is anti-drunk driving technology – in all cars. The bill has yet to be finalized, so nothing is yet set in stone. But automakers would be wise to start paying attention – and planning.

The bill has many driving-related concerns, most of them reliant on new technology. For example, the creation of an automated alert system for children left behind in the car.

Anti-Drunk Driving Provisions

While the wording is slightly ambiguous, the implication within this bill feels reasonably evident. Automakers will have a few years to design and begin implementing preventive technology, assuming the bill passes.

The idea is very similar to cars available to drivers with a history of impaired driving. The technology would automatically look for standard physiological features of an intoxicated driver – and prevent the vehicle from moving should the results be concerning.

One feature may be a more advanced version of an automotive breath-testing unit. This would potentially mean that each car would have to be equipped with a unit or a different means of testing for impairment – such as cameras.

The fight to prevent drunk driving has been a long one, and at times it feels like the impact of these lessons and laws has not been enough. Given the current car crash statistics, it is hardly surprising that lawmakers are trying to take matters into their own hands.

One of the primary problems with enforcing this new level of technology would be the additional cost – which would likely be passed down to the consumers. 

 

Are Smarter Cars Making Drivers Worse?

Who doesn’t love the idea of a smart car? They’re comfortable, convenient, and make our lives easier. Yet there’s a growing concern that the latest generation of cars may just be training people to be worse drivers – and that’s dangerous.

Who can forget the headlines from 2020, when a Tesla user crashed their car because they were too busy watching a movie. While this may be a stand-out example, it does raise a very valid concern. 

The Intention Behind Smart Cars

Smart cars are designed for comfort, yes, but they are also designed for safety. That’s their primary goal. The whole push for self-driving vehicles has less to do with lazy drivers and more to do with eliminating human error.

According to studies, more than ninety percent of car crashes were caused by drivers. In other words, they were caused by human error. Naturally, this explains why car and insurance companies alike would be interested in developing safer tech.

How This Concept Can Backfire

So, given the altruistic intent behind smart cars, how is it possible that the idea is backfiring? It’s simple – people are getting distracted. We are not yet at a point where self-driving cars are easily accessible (or necessarily legal), and that means the current tech out there can create just as much of a distraction as anything.

People get distracted by all of the devices in their cars. They play with the radio, their phone, and now the new shiny tech that comes along for the ride. According to a study run by State Farm, these distractions are making us worse drivers.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that certain drivers rely too much on safety technology. Adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist tools are being abused so that people can multitask within the car. Until we hit a point where self-driving cars are a given – this is extremely dangerous. The result is a road full of dangerously distracted drivers. Even if these drivers are in the minority, plenty of drivers are still too distracted by their phones

The Solution

Like many problems in the automotive industry, the solution comes down to regulation. More and more states are outlawing cell phones in cars – and that is just the first step in the process. Regulating these distractions is unfortunately essential, but that’s not the only step.

The other part of this process is education. Drivers need to be made more aware of the risk they take when doing this – and what it can cost. The automotive industry can get involved in this process by developing technology that discourages phone use and the like, much like the push towards seatbelts. 

Apps Making Driving Safer

Every day new technology is made for the express purpose of making people safer. This is especially true in the car industry, where safety is paramount – and the definition is constantly shifting.

Most recently, a new trend has been popping up in the auto industry. There are now dozens of apps out there to help people drive more safely. These apps are great for teenagers and adults alike and are available on multiple platforms. 

SafeDrive

SafeDrive is the perfect app for anyone actively trying to limit their phone usage while driving. SafeDrive is an app that believes phones can be a dangerous distraction in the car and works to reward drivers for keeping their phones away when behind the wheel.

LifeSaver

While LifeSaver is targeted more towards teen drivers (or, more accurately, the parents of teen drivers), this is an app for anyone. LifeSaver combines GPS monitoring with a rewards system similar to that of SafeDrive. Parents can track their teens and help reward them for keeping their phones safely tucked away. 

DriveMode

DriveMode is very similar to the apps mentioned above in that it discourages distracted driving by reducing phone use. DriveMode silences call, alerts, and texts while driving. Additionally, it can send out auto-replies in the meantime, so there is no need to worry about a lack of response on the driver’s part.

Inrix

Inrix doubles as a safety and map app. It learns from users’ driving habits, creating individualized routes that help avoid traffic. The goal is to keep drivers focused on the road and not figure out how to get from A to B.

Mojo

Mojo is another monitoring app, but with a twist. Mojo monitors user driving statistics and rates them according to how safe their driving is. The app allows users to accumulate points, which eventually begin to earn gift cards as physical rewards.

iOnRoad

iOnRoad is an innovative new app that takes full advantage of today’s technology. It uses augmented reality to map out the other cars on the road and will send automatic alerts when your vehicle gets too close to another.

EverDrive

Are you feeling a bit more competitive about safe driving? EverDrive is the perfect app for that. EverDrive rates users on their safe driving by monitoring acceleration, braking, and speed. From there, it provides total scores, which can be shared with the neighborhood.

Racing to the Future: Automotive Trends for 2030

It’s time for the automotive industry to start looking ahead. With all of the advancements in technology cropping up every day, now is the time to begin imagining what trends await the market for 2030.

The automotive industry has always had a talent for keeping up with technology. It has seamlessly integrated luxury items such as cameras, BlueTooth speakers, and lidar technology for comfort and safety.

Part of staying current with the trends involves the ability to look ahead. One has to imagine what the trend will be to have a design ready for that demand. As such, there are already dozens of predictions out there for what 2030 has in store.

It is entirely likely that by the year 2030, there will be a different power source available for automobiles. The demand for alternatives is already there. Just look at the prevalence of hybrid and electric vehicles. That demand is likely to rise over the next decade, resulting in a new breed of cars.

Likewise, the drive to create autonomous vehicles is still going strong. Yes, this industry has hit a few roadblocks over the last couple of years, but consumer interest is still there. While not every car will be autonomous by 2030, some experts believe that as many as 15% might be.

It is expected that the average customer will have changed by 2030 as well. Not everyone will want or need to own a car then. Cars will be seen as a mobility function, used primarily for commuting, trips, and errands. In turn, it is believed that sharing and rental cars will become more common in the following decades.

To keep up and partially counter this demand, companies will have to grow and adapt. They can either go with the flow by investing in rental opportunities. Or they can begin creating specialized cars to entice the remaining buyers’ market. 

Regarding the potential clients out there, experts believe that by the year 2030, every person will have 15 connected devices. Think TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, appliances, digital assistants, and security devices. 

This trend towards new connected devices will likely be reflected in the auto industry as well. Like current devices, they will be expected to eventually integrate with the cars considered more desirable.

The Best New Tech Safety Features in Cars

There has been a steady influx of tech features being rolled out by car manufactures, and 2021 is going to be no different. Any new automobile technology’s primary goal, regardless of its purpose for comfort, safety, or entertainment, is to avoid driver distraction. Here are some of the highest-rated safety tech features in cars for 2021.

 

Teen drivers are still the riskiest group on the roads and also the biggest worry for parents. With Chevy’s Teen Driver, parents can stay connected via a system that alerts when the car is driven over a speed limit, or the forward collision alert is triggered. They are also provided with a safety report card. Buckle to Drive is a feature of GM’s Teen Driver car system and displays notifications about safety. It also provides parents with a driver’s report card. 

 

Digital car keys have now become a valuable tool in automotive safety. The ability to start a car remotely is not only luxurious and convenient, but it reduces the amount of time a person has to wait to get inside and lock the doors. The proactive gauges that monitor fuel levels and tire pressure cut down drastically on the possibility of becoming trapped in a dangerous situation or breaking down. The future will see smartphones acting as remote keys. 

 

One of the most annoying and dangerous car elements is the blind spot caused by side pillars. New technology includes blind-spot sensors and monitors. Mounted on either the side or rear of the car, they can detect when vehicles are approaching and send either visual or audio alerts. Brands like Kia and Hyundai provide this feature within the gauge cluster, which keeps the driver focused on the road. 

 

Humans are slowly warming up to the concept of having driver-assisted technology. Some co-pilot packages offer hands-free driving, automated parking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, reverse brake assist, and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). Faster than a human’s ability to respond, AEB will also brake harder if danger seems imminent. This revolutionary safety feature The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes AEB, dynamic brake support (DBS), and crash imminent braking (CIB) will be the most significant developments in the fight against traffic fatalities. 

Will Car Safety Tech Lower Insurance Rates?

With the rise of more technologically advanced cars comes the expectation of safety. Many new features in vehicles, such as collision avoidance and parking assistance, are designed to help make the driving experience a safer one.

With the increase in safety comes the assumption that there will be a decrease in car insurance costs. However, it is never safe to make any assumptions in the world of insurance, and thus it is essential to research the matter.

Car Safety Tech

Every single year new advancements are made in the world of technology. Much of the new technology developed for automobiles has been to make travel safer for all. There’s no doubt that self-driving cars will come around, eventually. In the meantime, here are plenty of innovations to bridge the gap.

Collision warning systems are a common piece of car safety tech. Other features can include automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, cabin camera, and adaptive headlights. 

Tech Effectiveness

The latest Consumer Reports indicate strongly that the latest advancements in car safety technology do work as intended. They prevent collisions or reduce the severity of them when unavoidable.

Naturally, this means that lives can be saved and injuries avoided. However, there is a negative worth discussing at this point. Much of the technology available today is hidden behind increased expenses. A car with additional features is not as affordable as a more basic model, so it will not apply to everyone.

Technology vs. Human Error

While it is true that technology has been working hard to make driving a safer experience for all, there are some mitigating factors to consider. According to recent research, human driving has been getting worse, even while the technology gets better.

Bobbie Seppelt, from MIT, has been studying part of this phenomenon since 2015. The study has focused on driver attention and has found that distracted and multitasking drivers have become more common.

Furthermore, the study found that when car safety tech is at play, there are two types of users. First, there are the people who trust the tech, sometimes even going so far as to experiment with it or even rely on it too heavily. Conversely, some may outright stop using the technology.

Car Insurance And Technology Costs

While these advancements in car safety tech meet their intended goals – to save lives – they do so at an increased cost. This, in turn, makes it more expensive for insurance companies to replace.

It doesn’t take much to realize where this train of thought is leading. With the new technology costing more for insurers to replace, there is little incentive to decrease insurance plans. 

For example, The Zebra pointed out that a regular bumper would cost between $300 and $700 to replace, with a bumper with sensors would cost more than $1,000 to replace. When looking into how much is saved, it turns out that the average car safety tech can only save around 1% on car insurance. Perhaps this is something that will change in the future, as care safety tech and insurance companies learn to work together.