“The next thing I know my Mercedes had stopped, without hitting the car in front of me.” Those were the words of Google Senior Vice President, Vic Gundotra, who described his experience with collision avoidance technology in this YouTube video. Collision avoidance technology is quickly becoming a very serious selling point for some very forward thinking vehicle manufacturers. With this in mind we turn our attention this week to examples of this new and emerging technology and what it can offer fleet managers.
There are varying types of collision avoidance systems with beeps, automatic breaking and warning lights, all either warning the driver or taking over from the driver. Some of the most remarkable new systems are noted below. The list is by no means comprehensive, and as the months of 2012 roll on even more of these technologies will make the leap from the concept cars to the roll out models.
Adaptive cruise control – Working with car-in-front searching sensors, this system locks your speed to the speed of the car in front. Currently Volkswagen are using this technology which will work well on single lane roads.
Automatic emergency breaking – Again using front loaded sensors this system can either notify the driver or apply the breaks automatically depending on which manufacturers system you are using. This system can be seen in the Mercedes promotional video with Vic Gundorta.
Lateral collision avoidance – Using side sensors this time, lateral collision avoidance notifies the driver of encroachment in his or her blind spot. Currently BMW are pushing the technology which would reduce the chances of a side on collision.
Blind spot technology – This offering from Ford is similar to the BMW lateral collision avoidance system, however judging by the advertising it seems to limit itself to simply informing the driver rather than taking automatic evasive action.
Simply put, collision avoidance technology has the power to reduce accidents and as a consequence it could reduce the number of injured drivers, damaged vehicles and lost working days. With this in mind fleet managers should pay as much attention as possible to the claims made at the purchasing stage. At the same time, researching the functionality and usefulness of specific features will also be needed to ensure that the new features really do offer benefits. Overall fleet managers will be best advised to consider these new features with a close eye on the alternatives available, the training required and the cost benefit analysis.