Venus Williams accident illustrates the need for robotic assistance in cars

in #cars5 years ago

Video of the accident that Venus Williams was involved in illustrates perfectly in my mind the need for purchasing cars that have pre-collision accident avoidance options installed.

When I recently had the need to buy a new car due to someone else's negligence I chose to shop for this specific feature. In my mind if the feature is activated, even once, then it was worth the cost to install, which for the car model I was looking at was a $2500 option.

Specifically we can see that the accident was caused by two scenarios that can happen that will cause a human to get into an accident. The first error was a car not yielding on a left turn in front of Venus's car, which caused her to stop short in the intersection at a most likely yellow light. The rules state that all traffic should clear the intersection before proceeding through a green intersection. The second element that caused this accident is the car awaiting to make a left turn on the right of Venus's position. They are blocking the view of both Venus and the oncoming driver, who now only sees the green light, which makes this accident scenario inevitable.

The problem is that people cannot see through cars so they have no idea if cars will be coming through the intersection. However driver assisted accident avoidance technologies do exist to prevent this problem from occurring. Several technologies now exist including cars equipped with cameras, radar, and some elements of both.

Some brands like the Subaru which has the highest rating by the IIHS, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, which is an industry trade group that tries to get car makers to make safer cars, only have eyesight technology and therefore have a more limited feature set. This type of technology cannot see through cars but if it had been on the the car that hit Venus in the intersection would have reacted much better then the human driver at applying the brakes and lessening the force of the impact. This lessened force can sometimes be the difference between life and death.
When I was shopping for this feature I had found that even though it has been available for many years and on many different models of cars, most of the cars in the lots were not equipped with this feature. It seems that most people skip out on these sometimes life or death features to save a tiny amount on their monthly payments. This thinking is very short sided but will also wind up leading to the governments soon having to pass laws mandating this be a standard feature. Certainly these technologies often act just like vaccines, if only a handful have immunity then accidents will still occur, however if everyone has immunity then accidents become much more rare. It is a shame that the government would have to pass a law because people won't choose the proper actions to begin with.

I would be willing to wager that anyone skipping this important safety innovation thinks there isn't a need because they are great drivers and will never get into an accident. However the problem with unforeseen events is that they are always unforeseen until they unfold. Neither Venus nor the driver that collided with her, or the passenger that was killed thought that they would be getting into an accident at that very moment. Which all but illustrates the point that you cannot put a safety feature on just before you get into a life changing wreck, you must have the foresight to already be prepared for disaster. It's the same reason to have any insurance in the first place.



Hey bud, good post. I apprecite your and other people's interest in the active safety features being offered.

A short disclaimer:

These systems only work at certian speeds, under specific driving conditions and if they should fail for any reason -- the car manufacturer has no obligation to the effect of these features.

Might they intervene and save your life? Absolutely.

Might they do nothing when you're relying on them?

Always possible.

Source: I am a car salesman.

Sure, I would say that you should drive with them as if they were not there. However the difference between not there and there is significant enough to be noticeable, at least in my model. Thanks for your insight as a car salesman. Encourage people to get it, because the cost of a life is rarely worth $2500 in savings.

also fwiw, that option along with a bunch more comes in the Honda Sensing package which roughly only costs $1000 -- I don't really encourage people to get much because giving them the thing they arrived to find is the shortest path of least resistence to the sale. Also, I'm not sure really what % of the time the feautres would work vs. people's confidence in them.

If uou as the driver onow how to operate the car and the safety features, then it is worth the investment.

I found the Honda technology to be lacking. The future is embracing the technology not shying away from it. Many of the current offerings by other brands seemed way more accepting of the technology to work 100% of the time. In fact the Honda offering seemed more reliant on the driver to act rather then the car, the car should avoid collisions at all costs even with a bad driver at the wheel.

Some of the technologies are designed to work at greater speeds while others are only for low speed driving. Some completely refuse to hit the car in front without any driver mitigation and these are the better technologies going forward IMO.

Some tech doesn't last -- remember the fax machine? These safety options are definitely a good thing, but they're really a step-wise improvement towards driverless cars. I think that you'll find that within its class, the Honda system is the best available.

Is the car you purchased in a higher class than Honda? Honda's ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) is the only system in its class to bring the car to a complete stop from highway speeds.

Yes, the car I purchased comes to a complete stop from highway speeds and it also continues to operate as traffic moves again. Which is a terrific feature for stop and go traffic.

I also believe that the car I got is slightly larger on the inside and has a bigger engine then the Honda's I looked at. The fuel efficiency I believe was also higher compared to the Honda's I saw.

Ok, well for whatever reason you don't want to say the actual car you got. Either way, I'm glad you're enjoying it.

wow thanks for the awesome post.