Smart cars: safety net solutions?

Normally-speaking, one would expect sustainable cars and its related smart technology to be more safe for the everyday users. Nevertheless, nowadays, the use of more technological equipped cars results in more accidents on the road, according to the Branchemonitor Schadesector 2018-2030 that was formed by consultancy companies Automotive Insiders and Oude Essink Business-Advies for the Netherlands during the upcoming years.

Drivers of electric vehicles or vehicles that have smart technology on board, which could be a park assistant or automatic breaks, have more often an accident than drivers that do not use this particular technology.

Relatively, this particular outcome is a large burden for insurance companies. Futuristically-speaking, this leads to €125 million value in terms of more damage for the entire sector by the year 2025, according to the aforementioned research report. Currently, lease companies cover around €1.4 billion euro related to car damages every year.

Moreover, apart from smart cars that have a higher chance of having an accident, repairs regarding electric cars is also more expensive than non-electric cars, as quite some technology needs to be repaired that causes higher repair costs.

Functionality

Additionally, Oude Essink Business-Advies also mentioned that the extra sophisticated safety equipment, that is located in quite some electric or smart cars, is not on the functional level where it should be. The more complex the safety equipment, the larger the chance an accident will possibly occur. Drivers without a safety net have 14% chance of experiencing an accident, while drivers with a more sophisticated safety net have a chance of 23% of having an accident in a similar situation.

Role of the driver

Of course, the role of the driver is just as crucial during the user experience, especially when having a more advanced safety tool inside the car. It is vital that the driver of a car is aware of the safety and potential parking assistant that is available inside the car and how to use it. Furthermore, a driver should not rely too much on modern technology as it is not fully advanced yet. It is always important to concentrate on the vehicle and beyond during the driving journey.

International developments

Internationally-speaking, quite some companies have been acting on the fact that more accidents happen when driving electric cars. In the United States, 73% do not trust smart car technology, according to a 2018 survey by AAA.

Jaguar even developed a sort of google eyes that is placed in front of the vehicle to further support the driver during the everyday journey. An engineer from Jaguar informed the outside world that the eyes are an extra feature that function in a supporting way during the drive.

Furthermore, the technology also communicates to the pedestrians that cross the road by indicating that the vehicle noticed them along the way. Based on a cognitive experiment conducted by Jaguar Land Rover among 500 pedestrians, it was found that pedestrians feel more save to cross a particular road if the opposing car shows them by prove of a notification.

Conclusion

In the end, the large winners, if the research truly becomes reality, are the car maintenance stores. Cars are going to be further developed and are equipped with modern safety technology in order to support the user. Nevertheless, the current driver relies too much on new supporting technology that results in more accidents. This is an advantage for car repair stores and a disadvantage for the (business) drivers and car insurance companies.

The large question is if this is going to last in the medium and longer-term, as modern car safety technology becomes more trustworthy and reliable. In addition, car drivers become more aware of the fact that they cannot fully rely on the car’s internal safety technology. Human focus is and remains definitely important, especially for the upcoming years.

On the contrary, fuel efficiency, automated transmissions, improved safety, better problem diagnosis, improved pricing, Human Machine Interface Technology and more technological improvements result in a better user experience for the future, as Jaguar Land Rover already partly proved during the experiment of their new technology.

Afbeelding: jiazi (Flickr) (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Rutger Bloemenkamp

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