Artificial intelligence has been in the public eye since the late 1990s. That was the moment IBM’s Deep Blue became the first computer to beat a grand-master chess champion. In 2011, many people watched the Jeopardy! episode featuring the question-answer system Watson as it beat two former champions. With all of the discoveries made since then, machine learning has helped nearly every industry on earth evolve. One of the top ways AI has served us is by helping us to be safer on the roads.
Even the safest drivers in the world are not perfect. Humans are fallible by nature, and we do not possess the reaction time of a machine. Because of this, the luxury of machine assistance elevates our abilities to not only keep ourselves safe but also those around us. We already have some car technology that does a beautiful job of this by warning us about our proximity to other drivers or objects, whether on the move or trying to park. Smart headlights help reduce dangerous situations by adjusting to the conditions in real-time. On-board diagnostics can alert us to a problem before it becomes a more serious issue, thereby saving us money and keeping us out of harm’s way.
Smart cars of today not only have sensors giving a 360-degree view outside the vehicle, but they can also monitor a driver’s body position from within the car. If a vehicle senses the driver is leaning due to sleepiness, intoxication, or a medical issue, it can alert the driver with a warning signal. OnStar systems can also be called in an emergency, and some cars make it a hands-free option.
As cars become smarter with more advanced AI systems, there will be fewer overall road accidents. The combination of artificial intelligence and the speed and distance of 5G’s reach will enable civil engineers and traffic planners to create more efficient roads from an abundance of real-time data. Traffic lights will be automated to satisfy the current traffic flow, cutting down on the risk of accidents. As more cars become fully automated, they will join the collective device-to-device communication knowing the optimal distance length and speed to avoid collisions.
For drivers and residents, that means maximizing efficiency while also having fewer cars sitting idly in traffic, which means less pollution for the area. From a broader, public safety perspective, it means fewer road incidents to free up emergency road access, in addition to a generally safer mode of transportation.