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The Future of Road Safety Solutions

Peter Dallas explains how advanced sensor technology such as 'Black Box' recorders is helping reduce costs whilst saving lives.

Technology today

Every day in the UK there are over 1200 whiplash claims and annually there are over 30,000 'crash for cash' fraudulent insurance claims. In addition, commercial vehicles are damaged and drivers attacked costing huge sums in increased premiums, personal injury claims, and the cost of vehicles and drivers being off the road - not to mention the stress and fear of attack!

There are now a range of sensors available which integrate to provide private and commercial vehicles a cost effective total package to protect vehicles and other road users.

Black Box Digital Incident Recorders

By recording G-forces and GPS the drivers position, speed and collision forces can be measured. This can then be combined with on board video and audio to see the driver's view of the road conditions, other road users, and record the driver's environment. Commercial vehicles can have additional camera systems to record the sides, rear, and front blind spots to help the driver navigate busy roads and avoid potential fatal collisions with cyclists and other road users.

These total digital incident recorders provide drivers with the tools they need to avoid collisions while giving companies and insurance companies vital information to build a clear picture of driver's performance and risks.

All of the recorded data is of no value unless it can be rapidly interpreted, easily reviewed and transferred with tamper proof data encryption. Digital incident recorders, such as the View-i Pro, record a total picture of a journey securely with lockable encrypted data. The software immediately flags incidents and generates reports, such as its eco report, to show how fuel economy can be improved by gradual acceleration, easing on braking and maintaining ideal speeds.

Public interest in 'Black Box' digital incident recorders has exploded recently with the British Insurance Brokers Association research in July 2012 showing a 1500% increase in policies sold in 3 years. This expansion is expected to reach 500,000 policies per annum from the beginning of 2013.

Ultrasonic and radar detection systems

Ultrasonic and radar detectors are now providing commercial vehicles with the ability to detect pedestrians, cyclists and other road users avoiding collisions and potential fatalities with warning tones and in-cab displays.

Telematics - linking the vehicle to analysis centres in real-time

Telematics applies the latest mobile communications technology to the data being recorded to deliver encrypted information in real-time to company headquarters and/or insurance companies as part of a fleet management system. Telematics systems usually only record GPS positioning information which is transferred in real-time, however this limits insurance companies to speed and position while allowing stolen vehicles to be tracked. The latest Telematics systems can combine the real-time communications with the full sensor package to build a powerful tool that can have a variety of additional benefits including internet access, fully auitomatic breakdown recovery, remote door locking, plus a host of entertainment solutions.

Companies can then analyse their fleets to improve efficiency, reduce the environmental impact and redirect drivers to meet demands.

Benefits for commercial and private vehicles

Commercial vehicle operators have access to an incredible range of camera solutions to save money on insurance premiums, time vehicles are off the road, keeping staff safe, reassure passengers, and improve driver performance.

Save money - Systems are recommended by major insurers to provide video, audio, and also record G-forces plus vehicle positioning:

Having digital incident recorders in the cab has been shown to motivate drivers to take extra care. Companies can assess their drivers and fleets to reduce the environmental impact

The road ahead

The costs and size of advanced sensors is falling rapidly opening markets for new, innovative solutions. Many car manufacturers have developed test-beds where sensors provide yet more information on the road. Development systems combine the sensors' information with the latest head-up displays to help the driver to make decisions quickly and accurately, with the possibility of automatic braking systems.

All of the sensor systems available help to reduce the number of crashes on the road and make the roads safer for everyone.

- Peter Dallas, Managing Director, Daltec

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