In 1970, 3,400 people were killed in road accidents in Australia. In 1971, seatbelts became required by law and, since then, the number of road fatalities per year has declined steadily.
In 1982, random breath testing was introduced. As a result, the number of road fatalities has continued to decline despite the exponential increase in cars on the road. Analysts and commentators describe these two milestones as the “silver bullets” of road safety.
In 2012, there were still 1,300 road deaths in Australia which in today’s modern society is completely unacceptable. The question is: where are we going to find the next silver bullet?
Speaking at Cisco Australia’s recent Internet of Everything event, John Wall, Manager for Road Safety Technology at Transport for NSW, thinks that the next silver bullet could very well be the Internet of Everything.
As you’ll watch below, John Wall envisages a world where in a decade’s time the driver of a car is able to connect with the vehicle they are driving, the other vehicles on the road and the environment. The car can connect with sensors in the road which let the car know that it is wet and that the car should not exceed a certain limit. Or the car can know that the current driver is a P-Plater and talk to the cars around it just to let the drivers know that there is an inexperienced driver nearby.
However this will not be a perfect world; crashes will still happen. And John believes that Internet of Everything can help save lives once a crash does take place. Paramedics and rescuers could be equipped with wearable technology, like Google Glass, where paramedics are able to see information on the status of the crash and the next best action for the situation they are in according to their scenario. There is also potential for information on the crash to be relayed back to the traffic grid with traffic lights changing automatically to open and close roads as the crash scene is cleared up.
While very much still in its infancy in terms of mainstream adoption, this sort of technology is certainly being adopted. In fact, earlier this year Cisco invested in an innovative Australian company called Cohda Wireless which is developing, testing and rolling out some of these technologies globally, regionally and in Australia with Road Safety and Transport NSW and other organisations today.