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Can better car design lead to cheaper insurance?

Car design improvements that should lower your insurance premiums

Car insurance is all about risk. Insurers are only interested in the possibility of you being involved in an accident in the future, which would mean a claim against them. A number of technical advances in car design, however, have increased the odds against accident occurring. This means that many insurers are now able to offer far lower premiums to motorists, including high risk drivers such as the under 25s, who own vehicles which include one or more of these safety features. They could also save your life, or those of your friends or loved ones. Systems include :-

Automatic Emergency Braking

In 2017, there were more than 27,000 people reported killed, or seriously injured, in road accidents in the UK. Around one third of motor accidents involve a vehicle driving into the back of another. AEB systems detect a situation in which a car may collide with another one in front of it, and an alarm sounds to alert the driver. If there is no response and the crashes is imminent, the brakes are automatically applied in order to avoid the impact, or at least reduce the speed, and and lost the potential damage and danger to car occupants.

Earlier systems were designed to avoid or minimise accidents in built-up areas where traffic speeds were reasonably slow. The latest systems, however, can operate at much higher speeds and some use a combination of radar plus one or more cameras. Radar can detect where an object is, what speed it is travelling at and in which direction, but it has great difficulty in deciding just what the object is. Cameras, however, when assisted by suitable software, can differentiate between a car, a cyclist, a pedestrian or a motorcyclist.

Automatic emergency braking – pedestrians

In 2017, approximately 25% of people who were killed or seriously injured on British roads were pedestrians. An important factor in the damage that can be caused to a pedestrian is the speed of the vehicle involved in the accident; even a fairly small reduction can make all the difference in the world between a fatal and non-fatal incident. Over the last few years there has been considerable advances in the ability of sensor systems to detect potential accidents involving pedestrians, and these are expected to improve further in the future.

Automatic emergency braking – cyclists

6% of road deaths in Britain during 2017 involved cyclists. They create a more complex problem for detection systems, since they move more quickly and their movements can sometimes be less predictable than those of a pedestrian. Nevertheless both hardware and software systems continue to improve and it is hoped and expected that the numbers of serious and fatal accidents will continue to fall in future.

Driver drowsiness detection

It has been estimated that around 20% of accidents are caused by driver fatigue. This is an even more severe problem on long, monotonous roads such as motorways where sheer boredom can combine with tiredness and cause drivers to lose concentration. A tired driver will make erratic movements to compensate for lapses in alertness; these can be detected by sensors in the steering system. Lane discipline will usually deteriorate; this can be detected by a camera monitoring the lane markings. Marks of fatigue can be shown in the face and eyes of a driver; this game can be detected by a camera and sophisticated software. If one or more of these symptoms becomes apparent the driver is alerted and advised to stop and take a rest.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation

This system checks the local speed limit and if the vehicle is exceeding it, an audible warning is sounded, or the vehicle's speed is automatically reduced. There may be an option for the driver to override the automatic speed reduction.

Transport for London has announced that in the future all new buses in the city will be fitted with Intelligent Speed Adaptation systems.

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