IoT Paving the Way for Safer Roads

Bill Reeves, VP Customer and Product Marketing
14-Aug-2018 10:00:00

Driving – or just riding in a car – is one of the riskier activities we participate in every day. According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, more than 25,000 people died in road accidents in the European Union.  While certainly a sizable number, the statistic represents a slight decrease (-2%) from 2016, and innovations in IoT technology are attempting to drive that number downward.  

As we know, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the power to create unprecedented business efficiencies and generate data to guide future decisions. However, the most important advantage IoT may bring to the table is ability to save lives. Here are some of the ways IoT advances are keeping the roadways safer:

  • In-vehicle features: Many of today’s automobiles are designed with wireless connectivity, including safety features. As we mentioned recently, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) innovations are giving drivers a better sense of what others around them are doing, which allows for faster preventative decisions. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology empowers drivers with any number of important alerts regarding elements outside of the car, including road conditions. Additionally, hands-free and voice-activated capabilities further ensure driver safety.
  • Driver diagnostics: Any accident involving large fleet vehicles increases the risk of more serious consequences. Having IoT-generated insight into driver performance data – such as heavy braking, excessive speed, and even seat belt use – can help fleet companies to determine the areas that they should address with their drivers to make each operate more safely.
  • Vehicle diagnostics: It is important to spot potential safety issues before they play out. IoT sensors can monitor transmission health, engine issues, as well as brake and tire wear among many others.
  • Infrastructure sensors: Some roadway safety features have nothing to do with the vehicle or driver. Sensors on bridges and overpasses, for example, can alert decision-makers to potential vulnerabilities and help prevent a devastating collapse. Sensors can also be used to identify potential road degradations before dangerous cracks and potholes emerge.
  • Weather data: Vehicles connected to the most up-to-date weather information can alert drivers to hazardous driving areas. Combined with GPS capabilities, drivers can decide whether pulling off the road or taking an alternate route makes the most sense.

Car manufacturers are collecting vast amounts of data from IoT-enabled vehicles, informing new decisions and positioning them to create new features and improve existing ones. With each new, innovative IoT safety advance, drivers, vehicles, and supporting infrastructures will make the roadways safer.