The economy of the automobile industry may be set for an unprecedented change following an innovation that could alter the way manufacturers make and sell automobiles. But that would be the smaller of the two realities at hand. The bigger news which happens to be a good one is that road accidents which lead to loss of life of pedestrians and cyclists might become extinct or very rare in the near future. This would be a huge relief to road users as the stats have not been in their favour for a long time.
For instance, over the last decade, cars have become meaningfully safer for drivers, but increasingly deadly for pedestrians / cyclists outside of the car. There’s been a whole lot of technological change – and yet in 2018, the US saw more pedestrians and cyclists killed since the 90s (a combination of lacking awareness and the economic priorities of manufacturers, which Bloomberg analyzed this year).
Today, in 2020, we’re on the brink of a paradigm shift but it will depend on industry leaders adopting and scaling protective technology that prioritizes safety for all road users. One such industry leader that seriously making a bold statement in this regard is !important as we shall learn about shortly.
A Technological Response to a Common Problem
!important, as well as many of its contemporaries, is looking to save more lives on the road via the use of satellite technology that alerts connected and autonomous vehicles when pedestrians and cyclists are in close range and will potentially automatically hit the brakes in autonomous cars .
“The concept is pretty simple. We realized that drivers often juggle a lot of thoughts in their minds while driving.” Began Bastien Beauchamp, CEO of !important “As humans we all make mistakes and sometimes fail to take note of people while driving. These people could be anything from pedestrians to cyclists and bikers. The !important app can alert drivers of potential accidents and in autonomous cars can automatically prevent accidents – then they will be better able to prevent collisions hence reduce casualties in the process. It’s the new safety belt ”
Statistics show that the improvement !important and its kind are bringing to the industry will be most favourable for pedestrians who use the road at night times. For instance, the year 2018 saw pedestrian fatalities caused by motor vehicles increase by 3.4% with a whopping 76% of the casualties being hit after dark. Cyclists aren’t having it any better either. In the same year, cyclist fatalities rose by 6.3% with 50% of the casualties happening after dark.
Economic Implications and the Way Forward
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it various changes in the way we live our lives. More people are beginning to trek or use their bikes instead of getting crammed up in public buses and trains. Overall, road traffic has increased and drivers now need to be more careful than ever before.
Current vehicle safety tech (lidar, cameras) has been shown to prevent only around 1/3 of accidents – technology designed with pedestrians in mind, that works in all light and weather conditions, can change that number dramatically. !important is calling for that change.
Interestingly, this change will be very positive for the economy of the automobile industry. As anyone can imagine, and courtesy of COVID-19, more people would like to own their own cars, bikes or bicycles for privacy sake. This would mean more sales and revenue for the industry. Also, it will be a field day for businesses who are providing solutions that will keep pedestrians and all road users safe now and in the future; a win-win for all parties.
(Syndicated press content)