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How Computer Vision Can Change the Automotive Industry

Every year, traffic accidents account for 2.2% of global deaths. That's roughly 1.3 million a year — 3,287 a day. On top of this, some 20–50 million people are seriously injured in auto-related accidents each year. The root causes of these fatalities? Human error. From distracted behaviors like texting and emailing to adverse reactions to alcohol or drugs, one poor decision could be the difference between survivability and tragedy. But what if we could neutralize human error from the equation? What if there were a way to monitor bad driving and prevent those actions that cause accidents before they happen?

There's no doubt about it: computer vision is changing the automotive industry. These technologies make it possible to mitigate human error in the auto industry, assisting drivers at the wheel with tools and features that keep them from committing serious mistakes and accidents.

Computer vision technology has already been implemented in a number of vehicles, both for the purpose of security and for convenience. Consider Ford's move toward self-parking cars—automated parking systems are making life easier for drivers, but they're also reducing the number of collisions that take place in parking lots.

Beyond this, computer vision technology assists with things like collision avoidance while driving. As we see in Tesla's Autopilot mode, computer vision makes it possible to avoid low-speed collisions by detecting lane markings and other cars with cameras that usually serve as backup cameras.

In the automotive industry, we've seen this technology tested and most immediately applied to common vehicles. However, the technology is also making its way into the realm of autonomous/self-driving vehicles, though this application is still some years off from becoming wholly relevant.

Driver Assistance, Safety Precautions, and Preventive Measures

You can think of computer vision as the ultimate car rear-view camera. It’s an entire sensory apparatus that analyzes your surroundings and gives you clear, detailed information about everything around you.

And it does much more than that! Computer vision acts as a complete sensory apparatus. That means it’s one that simultaneously takes in the environment around you and analyzes it for potential threats, obstacles, and other relevant situations that you’d need to react to while driving. And just like the human eye turns its attention to what is important, so does this computer-vision system.

Take lane changing, merging, and unintentional lane departure, for instance. Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that lane departure warning systems (LDW) could potentially avoid or assuage some 37,000 injury-inducing crashes, 7,529 fatal crashes, and 179,000 crashes yearly. If a driver found themselves swerving or veering off the road while driving (as is likely), the LDW would pick up on this and issue an alert (either by way of a visual, sound, or vibration).

When it comes to safety features like this (or any other car feature), it’s crucial. 

The Future of Computer Vision and Transportation

With self-driving vehicles on the rise, it’s no surprise that transportation is one of the key areas in which computer vision can have a significant impact. Not only can our technology be used to make sure self-driving cars are safe and running efficiently, it can also be used in other ways to improve the automotive industry.

In terms of safety and efficiency, computer vision is a game changer for autonomous vehicles. It allows vehicles to “see” their surroundings and react accordingly, determining whether or not the car should change lanes or slow down. This technology can even detect potential road hazards such as oncoming traffic or pedestrians that may pose a safety threat to drivers.

This technological advancement is also making its way into more traditional forms of transportation. Security features such as facial recognition are commonplace in today’s society, with police officers using this technology to identify criminals and make our communities safer places for all. The next step for police departments would be deploying this software in squad cars, allowing them to identify suspects without having to pull over their vehicle first.

The potential of computer vision technologies is nearly limitless. Powered by synthetic data, they have the potential to revolutionize every aspect of our daily lives—from transportation and travel to healthcare and retail.

Neuromotion is pioneering computer vision techniques in a way that makes them more accessible to the everyday user, making your day less of a hassle and giving you peace of mind on your morning commute.

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