3 future safety technologies you might see in your fleet

Evolution is the key to progression - in business and humankind. However, business evolution happens much faster, as any fleet manager will attest.

Many will remember a time before hill-start technology, adaptive cruise control and even perhaps airbags - three modern safety innovations you will expect to find in plenty of fleet vehicles. Today, road accident numbers are generally falling, and we owe much of that to technology.

Like any form of evolution, it is a constant progression. The fleet of the future will likely look a lot different to what we see on our roads today, whether that involves 100% electric-powered cars or self-driving commercial vehicles.

Google has recently patented a design for sticky bonnets - putting the "goo" into "Google".

It's an exciting time to be a fleet manager. So, let's have a look at three future safety technologies you might see in your fleet:

1) Sticky bonnets

Google is one of the biggest brands in the world, with a hand in everything from the internet to automotive activities. The Cupertino firm is trying to get ahead of the game by releasing some impressive innovations, though that doesn't stop at Google's autonomous passenger vehicle.

The company has recently patented a design for sticky bonnets - putting the "goo" into "Google". The adhesive is coated onto the front of a car and covered by a protective, breakable layer to stop insects from getting trapped.

Instead, the glue acts as a human-catcher in the event of a collision, sticking the unfortunate pedestrian to the bonnet and preventing them from rolling into traffic or other objects.

"This instantaneous or nearly-instantaneous action may help to constrain the movement of the pedestrian, who may be carried on the front end of the vehicle until the driver of the vehicle (or the vehicle itself in the case of an autonomous vehicle) reacts to the incident and applies the brakes," reads the US patent description.

"As such, both the vehicle and pedestrian may come to a more gradual stop than if the pedestrian bounces off the vehicle."

2) Attention control systems

For all the concern about Big Brother, attention control systems might be one camera system you'd like to have watching over you and your fleet drivers on a constant basis. The new technology comes from Volkswagen, who are experimenting with a way to keep drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

Sensors keep track of a driver's eyes, noticing things like blinking and eye movement. If the driver is judged to have drifted off, the system will sound an alarm and alert them. 

Fatigued driving is a concern for fleet managers, with 25% of road accidents attributed to drowsy drivers, reports have found. Long working hours are only making the matter worse, so this is one technology we're particularly keen to see implemented sooner rather than later.

Technology is helping to combat drowsy driving.Technology is helping to combat drowsy driving.

3) The Internet of Things

Imagine approaching an intersection as a driver is about to run a red light and cross your path. You would barely have time to react, and could end up with a devastating head-on collision.

Now imagine your van was connected to all others in the area, and it was monitoring them for dangerous activity. Your van could begin to gradually slow down, making a gap for the offending vehicle and allowing it to pass through unharmed.

The Internet of Things is essentially a network for sensors and transmitters to communicate with each other, and this is exactly the type of potentially fatal accident that can be avoided.

Deloitte says that more than 250 million vehicles could be connected in this way by 2020, which is closer than we all think. It could make your drivers even safer than they are today, and avoid deadly and costly accidents.

We can't wait to see how tomorrow's technology plays into today's fleet services. Can you?