Research into possible assistance by the car’s computers along with various sensors in aiding drivers when driving in bad weather is underway to make the roads safer. Funded by Veridan and Honda, the researchers at The University of Buffalo are working to perfect and prototype a system which would have some built-in reflexes into the car allowing it to assist the driver in case of a skid or slide. Many drivers still get into accidents when ice, rain and other weather impair the usual driving environment.
The system would involve the car’s computer which would have some pre-loaded reflex routines that tackle most driving situations, sensors that will be embedded in every part of the vehicle and active assist systems much like ABS assists you in maneuvers on slick roads. There is a required level of skill that is involved in order to recover from a spin such as which way to turn the wheel to counter the spin and how fast the driver has to turn it to effectively avoid disaster. The braking, engine, steering and many more parts of the car would assist the driver in making that critical split-second decisions on which way to turn the wheel and how much braking and engine power would be required. The parameters that would be built into these proposed systems are being tried out in simulators to obtain repeatable and standard results.
Researchers have found that the best and least invasive assistance technique can be achieved by audible warnings which allow the driver to keep his eyes on the road to allow better understanding of the situation. The new system would supplement but not totally take over the control of the vehicle for the best and fastest computer in the world is still the human brain which makes hundreds of thousands of calculations from visual cues and other sensory gathered information to allow the proper technique to be executed. The driver is still the most dangerous part of a motor vehicle for even with all the advanced technologies and safety systems that have been developed; the person is still the biggest threat to himself. Proper training and stimuli can help make a person more focused on his driving and lessen the accidents that have become more common on the streets of today.