Ageing drivers put ADAS and automation into safety spotlight

Junhwan Kim explores how the latest ADAS and AV technologies will help reduce traffic fatalities, especially among older drivers

As the number of vehicles around the world rapidly expands, so too does the number of traffic incidents and their fatality rates. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.3 million people worldwide die in road accidents every year. Traffic accidents kill one person every 24 seconds, and the economic loss is high enough to account for 3% of GDP in most countries.

Recently, an increase in the number of elderly drivers is also emerging as a new concern. In most developed countries, the proportion of elderly drivers over the age of 65 started to increase steadily in the 2000s, and by 2019, it increased by more than 50%. For example, the number of drivers over the age of 65 in the US, compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2019, exceeded 54.1 million, a 35% rise compared to 2010.

Older drivers have a higher fatality rate compared to other age groups in the event of a traffic accident. According to senior driver safety survey conducted by RAND Corporation, those over the age of 65 have a lower accident rate than the average adult driver, but are 573% more likely to die in an accident.

Traffic accidents kill one person every 24 seconds, and the economic loss is high enough to account for 3% of GDP in most countries

New technology can help. According to data released in 2021 by market research firm Strategy Analytics, the global ADAS industry size has already exceeded US$20bn in 2020 and is expected to reach US$49.3bn by 2025, a rapid growth rate of 17.7% per year.

Taking the camera sensor as an example, the industry is focusing on increasing the field of view and image resolution. Recent technology achievements recognise vehicles or pedestrians located on both sides of an intersection through a camera with a field of view of 100 degrees, which is significantly improved compared to the existing 50 degrees horizontally, or to increase driving safety on the highway with high-resolution cameras of 4 to 8 million pixels that can recognise objects at a distance of up to 200 meters or more. A technology that integrates various sensors to detect 360-degree directions around the vehicle is also being developed. The main purpose of this technology is to minimise or eliminate blind spots around the vehicle by integrating various types of sensors such as cameras, radars, and LiDARs.

The global ADAS industry size has already exceeded US$20bn in 2020 and is expected to reach US$49.3bn by 2025

The ultimate goal for governments and the automotive industry worldwide is to find policy and technical solutions that will reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, especially for ageing populations. Delivering the benefits of ADAS and autonomous driving technologies to a wider public will be key to achieving this goal. First, governments should establish legal standards for the introduction and expansion of automotive safety technology. In addition, various automotive manufacturers and their partners worldwide must establish the General Safety Regulation and New Car Assessment Program that sets standards for the latest technologies from the stage of new car development.

In addition, the automotive industry should  introduce an open development ecosystem between automakers, semiconductor manufacturers, and software developers to strengthen collaboration and lower development costs from the initial stage, and to set up a system that enables follow-up services such as vehicle software updates, feature additions, and bug fixes without incurring large-scale costs by utilizing over-the-air technology commonly used in mobile devices..


The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Junhwan Kim is Chief Executive of StradVision, an automotive vision processing software supplier.

The Automotive World Comment column is open to automotive industry decision makers and influencers. If you would like to contribute a Comment article, please contact editorial@automotiveworld.com

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