The reality is that the roads are dangerous for many Americans. Lots of people cannot necessarily function without driving either because they need to commute to school or work, or both. Lots of people in the United States are in spread-out areas, relatively far away from the places to which they need to commute. There are many things that can theoretically go wrong after individuals hit the road. They can potentially fall prey to hazardous roads affected by the weather; additionally, they can experience mechanical failures within their vehicles themselves. However, many people would not necessarily be in danger while driving if not for the fact that others drive under the influence.
Although driving under the influence is often linked to driving drunk, any intoxicating substance can be connected to car accidents involving people driving under the influence. It’s estimated that over 15,000 car injury deaths each year are connected to alcohol and illicit drugs. With that being said, some car accidents are also connected to other poor decisions that people may make while on the road. While distracted driving cannot necessarily be directly compared to driving while intoxicated, this practice is similarly incredibly dangerous and harmful. Simply by looking down at their phone, an individual can put themselves and other people in danger.
There are laws dissuading people from driving while intoxicated or driving distractedly. Furthermore, regulations like required vehicular inspections should keep people from driving unsafe cars. But these laws and regulations don’t seem to be effectively preventing car accidents, at least not on their own. This is why it’s incredibly important that artificial intelligence, or AI, is being incorporated into road safety practices.
Why AI Is Being Used to Revitalize Road Safety
There are a lot of reasons why both companies and authorities are interested in utilizing AI to update road safety standards. The fact is that city planners are currently making moves to improve the safety of their roads, but to do so without AI is quite daunting and requires revamping the extensive old-fashioned infrastructure. In order to do so more efficiently in terms of time, labor, and cost they need technology that will help them analyze different pain points and map out potential strategies and solutions.
AI is actually becoming more mainstream, however advanced and unique it may seem to some. This presents exciting new opportunities, offering the potential to scale up its capabilities relatively rapidly. Autonomous or self-driving vehicles are being considered, not only by private companies but by city planners and politicians as well. These cars could be connected to outside infrastructure, as well as to each other. This could potentially yield future transport systems that are more efficient and more accessible, while also being much safer for the average person.
Consider the fact that many of the issues on the roads right now can be traced back to human error. If people get behind the wheel while intoxicated, they may not mean to harm anyone, but they could kill themselves as well as multiple other people. The same can be said when an individual looks down at their phone. It’s easy for drivers to get distracted or bored, and it’s also easy for them to operate on “autopilot” when they carry out the same tasks every day. For example, a typical driver will spend roughly 17 hours per year looking for a parking spot. During that time, the task may become quite mundane for drivers, and therefore it could become harder for them to focus on driving and really take it seriously. This opens up the opportunity for accidents to happen.
AI does need to be fine-tuned and carefully tested before it is trusted with human lives. However, when AI is perfected it is actually more trustworthy than the capabilities of the average person, who is much more prone to error. This can be particularly considered in relation to public transportation. Theoretically, buses or other public vehicles could be connected to infrastructure and transport passengers quickly and efficiently. There would be no need for concern regarding the health and capabilities of the drivers, simply because there would not be any drivers.
Understanding What Is Required to Create Safer Roads
In order for AI to become a dominant factor in terms of transportation, and to become a part of regular infrastructure, significant progress will need to be made. In general, AI and cloud computing is becoming a more regular part of everyday life. Indeed, an estimated 94% of all businesses rely on cloud services in order to streamline their businesses. But that doesn’t mean that AI is ready to hit the road just yet.
AI and machine learning will need to consume more power than they already do in order. Additionally, they will need to collect more data than they perhaps have before in most environments. 5G could potentially provide connectivity for AI systems, allowing for rapid communication as well as rapid data analysis. AI isn’t quite ready for driving yet, but it will be in the relatively near future.
The exciting thing about AI is that it is capable of learning. This means that the more time AI technology spends on the road, the more that it will learn about driving and making roads safer in general. Its accuracy will be improved, and it will move closer to being ready to be used by cities. Additionally, as new technologies are created, they can be incorporated into AI and support it in many ways. For example, thermal sensing technologies can be incorporated into AI utilized for driving. Thermal sensing could act as the key for AI technology, sensing objects with temperates that correspond to human or animal body temperatures and triggering a stop system in the AI-driven vehicle.
Although much of this remains theoretical right now, it may not be theoretical in the future. Autonomous cars are being test-driven in the U.S. right now, and the more common car crashes become, the more people will call for AI. It could very well be the difference between safe roads and dangerous ones.