Advanced technology will define vehicle safety

Automotive engineers are advancing their products in a number of different ways. From reduced fuel consumption thanks to efficient engines and more gadgets than you can shake a smartphone at, modern vehicles are technological masterpieces. 

However, there's always room for further improvement. Fleet managers can expect cars to continue developing at such a rapid pace in the coming years, with one category in particular set to see significant attention. 

Australia's 2014 road toll was 4.92 deaths per 100,000 citizens.

Safety has always been a concern for motorists around the country, with the 2014 road toll revealing there were 4.92 deaths per 100,000 people in Australia, according to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

While this is showing a downward trend, automotive manufacturers are revealing safety technologies that are expected to have an even greater impact than what is already available. 

Connected cars will be the future of safety

A number of vehicles on Australia's roads today are already exhibiting features that will become synonymous with self-driving cars in the next decade. Additions such as autonomous emergency braking are examples of safety systems that are controlled by computers and able to intervene if a driver hasn't reacted promptly. 

These systems are set to advance even further over time, according to a report from VTT Research. Currently, they can only influence the vehicles in which they are installed, meaning every car and truck on the road operates independently, an important factor in an accident or when dangerous conditions arise. 

In the future, cars and other vehicles will be connected, allowing them to share important information with those in the vicinity, such as speed, position and road condition. 

Principal Scientist at the firm Johan Scholliers is predicting the technology to have a notable influence on the future of motoring. 

"As it proliferates, cooperative driving based on communication and data exchange between vehicles and road network systems will noticeably improve traffic safety," he explained. 

How will manufacturers do it?

In some cases, the desire to prepare connected cars for the general public is leading automotive manufacturers to contact experts in other industries to ensure they're using the best possible technology. 

Ford recently announced a partnership with St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University which saw the pair create a data communications system that will be integral to the future of connected cars.

According to Technical Leader, Advanced Connected Services at Ford, Oleg Gusikhin, these advancements will help to connect future vehicles, with the early prototypes displaying positive signs.  

"These first results are very promising in terms of offering more reliable communications technology for the future of connected vehicles," he said.

Fleet managers could be in charge of autonomous vehicles in the coming years. Connected cars are expected to enhance safety.

Autonomous projects ramp up

While most manufacturers are trialling aspects of fully autonomous systems in their current vehicles and investigating the potential of connected cars, Google has made rapid advances in its attempt to make driverless cars a reality. 

According to a September 29 report published on CIO, the firm has drastically increased the size of its autonomous fleet. Previously, Google had 23 cars patrolling Californian streets as it continues to test the viability of the technology.

Now, this number has more than tripled, resulting in 73 cars that are permitted to drive around California free from human control. The increase in fleet size is a vote of confidence for a technology that could have a significant effect on the way fleet managers perform their role. 

However, there's still a long while to go before the firm's cars are ready to be released to consumers, mostly due to the fact they are still limited to about 40 kilometres per hour and unproven in inclement weather.