(Our Auto Expert) — According to the World Health Organization, 1.3 million lives are cut short by road traffic accidents, and 20 and 50 million people are injured globally in non-fatal accidents.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that cycling is one of the largest vulnerable road user categories for injuries and fatalities, and cost estimates globally are pushing north of $23 billion.
The Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, is where companies are coming together to test technologies in real-world environments to reduce accidents.
Audi is one of the leading automakers taking steps to address these concerns and has partnered with tech start-up Spoke Safety. Spoke is using technology that allows the car to better see and identify vulnerable road users with the goal of preventing accidents between cars and pedestrians. NHTSA reported 72% percent of motorists interviewed after an accident said the reason for the accident was that they couldn’t see the cyclist or pedestrian.
The device by Spoke transmits, receives, and communicates directly between the vehicle and the bicycle.
Spoke is integrating its safety product into bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters and even recognizes pedestrians walking or running.
The unit sends a signal 10 times per second to smart city traffic signals and towers. From the towers, it then communicates with vehicles around it, providing high location accuracy and additional safety.
Cities are also taking steps toward making roads safer for everyone by using connected vehicle technologies. The city of Peachtree Corners created a living tech laboratory called the Curiosity Lab. It includes a 3-mile test track on public streets where companies come to test and prove their technology.
“This technology is being tested with cyclists, roadway workers, and municipal vehicles,” said Brian Johnson, manager of Curiosity Lab. “The goals for this unit are not limited to just cyclists. Motorcyclists, pedestrians, and even kids walking to school will eventually leverage this technology to ensure their safety, to demonstrate the effectiveness of Spoke’s technology, and to bring attention to this issue of roadway safety.”
Audi is the first automaker in the U.S. that comes equipped with embedded connected vehicle technology that communicates directly with Spoke’s safety technology and has the potential to save lives. It is a great example of how we can use technology for the betterment of society. This technology brings us one step closer to making our roads, bike lanes, and sidewalks safer for all.