27 Jan
The humble indicator may seem like nothing more than a part of a light fixture, but Mitsubishi's high tech version could reduce accidents.

Could projected indicators reduce accidents on Kiwi roads?

The humble indicator may not seem like a critical piece of equipment on any given vehicle, but it can be the difference between showing intentions to other road users and causing a minor accident.

Developing the indicator into a piece of streamlined, futuristic technology isn't a necessity for many car, van and truck manufacturers, but Mitsubishi is working on a system that has the potential to reduce the amount of low speed crashes on roads across the world.

Projecting for the future

The creatively titled EMIRAI3 xDAS concept car formed one of the centrepieces at the most recent Tokyo auto show, and it features a specially developed indicator system that includes projectors. In essence, the innovative solution projects an image onto the road surface, ensuring that any vehicles following behind are well aware of their fellow road user's next move.

The system will ideally reduce the number of several types of road-traffic accidents. For example, this new kind of indicator will essentially illuminate the road, making it particularly useful when it gets dark.

To that end, Mitsubishi found that the vast majority of accidents involving pedestrians occur at night – with 70 per cent of fatalities coming from accidents after the sun sets. Light sources projected onto roadways are still a relatively new concept, but the positive potential of the systems simply cannot be ignored.

Decreasing low speed accidents

Twelve per cent of all minor accidents in New Zealand are down to driver distraction.

As touched on, many low-speed accidents – particularly those in cities and areas with condensed traffic – tend to occur when there's a lack of understanding between drivers, or little to no due care and attention.

In New Zealand, around 12 per cent of all minor accidents occur when one or more drivers become distracted and aren't fully aware of what's going on around them, according to statistics from the Ministry of Transport.

Consequently, any kind of device that has the potential to limit that figure is likely to prove popular among casual motorists and professional drivers alike. 

The vast majority of technological advances tend to focus on economy, as efficient vehicles are a must for those looking to maximise the value they extract from each tank, with or without a fuel card. However, safety is just as important, and it's little wonder that today's manufacturers are seeking ways to reduce the chances of some of the most common types of accidents occurring.