Volkswagen Plans to Use Technology to Reduce Road Toll

As part of its initiative to reduce road traffic to zero, German car manufacturer Volkswagen plans to use technology to make the roads a safer place. The company says that while Europe has seen a 55% reduction in road deaths between 2000 and 2015, more than one million people lose their lives across the globe to car accidents.

Human error is usually to blame for these accidents, but the company believes that technology can help reduce fatalities while lowering insurance broker premiums.

VW believes that network features and digital safety systems will dramatically improve safety. The company aims to install infotainment systems and displays that are low-distraction. Eventually, VW plans to build cars that will communicate with each other, with the ability to take over braking and driving roles if hazards are detected.

Right now, VW is working on four technologies to help them reach their initiative goals:

  • Race trainer. This technology will deliver augmented instructions to drivers on when to brake, how to take a corner and how to exit a corner.
  • Ticmirror. The China arm of VW Group is working on this technology, which is a smart rearview mirror that has built-in navigation information, point of interest voice searching and music streaming. The goal is to eventually create a complete virtual assistant system.
  • Bugatti telemetry. Bugatti’s telemetry system sends essential information back to the company’s German headquarters. The data transmits in real-time and if anything seems irregular, the customer service team is alerted and can respond accordingly.
  • Scania convoy. Scania is currently working on an autonomous convoy system for commercial vehicles. The system allows one driver to control up to four trucks at a time. The goal is to have the docking and unloading of cargo become an automated process, which will improve safety and efficiency.

Volkswagen isn’t the only company using technology to benefit drivers. In Australia, Vodafone is using its global Internet of Things (IoT) to help drivers find their lost vehicles. When speaking at CeBIT, Justin Nelson, Vodafone’s head of IoT, said the company’s solutions have helped recover more than 960 stolen vehicles using sensing and tracking technology.

Nelson said that it is now possible to predict a vehicle’s behavior and use artificial intelligence to detect anomalies. These two key things make it possible to track down a vehicle in a day. When anomalies are detected and certain conditions are met, the system may dispatch the local police.

Vodafone’s narrowband IoT technology is also being used to keep track of beer kegs, so brewers know if kegs are missing or need to be recalled if they’ve gone stale. The start-up Binary Beer, which is using the technology, says it will help brewers protect their reputations.

Beer and driving may not go hand-in-hand, but Vodafone’s IoT technology can help many drivers track down their missing vehicles. As for Volkswagen, their technology may allow drivers to save money on their insurance premiums. Autonomous vehicles may still be decades into the future, but they, too, are expected to lower premiums.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.