Can data save your life while you drive? Automobiles today are being manufactured with more and more embedded technology that can help prevent hundreds of thousands of accidents annually. On highways and neighborhood streets, these advances can assist drivers by either automatically reacting to hazards or warning drivers of potential dangers. The resulting decrease in accidents can not only save lives but can also significantly reduce out-of-pocket car repair costs and medical bills, showcasing the inherent value of data.
What is edge processing and why is it important?
This year, 718 accidents per hour are predicted on US roadways. A powerful solution to this issue is to increase computing capabilities within automobiles, so that they “think” and react to help prevent accidents. Welcome to edge processing.
Edge processing is processing of data occurring outside of the data center. Autonomous car safety systems, such as lane departure detection systems, automatic brakes and backup cameras, need these capabilities to make quick decisions that are based on the processing of huge data volumes. For example, lane departure detection systems use edge processing to conduct complex analysis and warn passengers in real time without having to send the data to the cloud and wait for a response.
Edge safety features eliminate hundreds of thousands of accidents
Our research shows that, thanks to edge processing, 276,000 accidents will be prevented in 2018. That’s 32 accidents prevented every hour and it translates to a total savings of $1.9 billion dollars in avoided insurance claims. The impact of edge processing will only increase over time as more cars are equipped with safety features. In 2030, 2.5 million accidents will be prevented by edge-enabled safety features—that’s 285 accidents avoided per hour and represents $22 billion in avoided insurance claims for car repairs and medical bills.
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It’s still a bumpy road
Although 32 accidents prevented per hour in 2018 is impressive thanks to the power of edge processing, this year there will be 718 accidents per hour. What is preventing this technology from realizing its full potential? One issue is that edge-enabled safety features are not widespread enough to realize their full impact. In 2016, only 5 percent of cars had advanced driver-assistance systems. Another major issue is the difficulty of quickly updating cars with the latest safety features.
What if you could update your car like your phone?
“Dumb” cars (or the vast majority today that can’t receive updates) can be compared to older model mobile phones (flip phones) that couldn’t be upgraded. If consumers wanted new features, they had to buy new phones. However, if cars were equipped with onboard computers, new features could be downloaded, similar to smartphones, using existing compatible hardware.
Through onboard computers, cars would receive quick updates and use predictive models to engage automatic safety features that help human drivers prevent accidents. As machine learning occurs in the cloud and the algorithms get smarter, upgrades are pushed to a car’s onboard computer. Cars can then better predict when an accident will occur and can trigger the edge-enabled crash-avoidance features in real time that brake or divert the car from crashing. It’s the classic combinatorial effect at work: Onboard computers, combined with edge-based features that are constantly getting smarter, boost safety beyond what all the features working alone can accomplish.
Edge safety features with onboard computers eliminate millions more accidents
The potential impact from equipping all cars with onboard computers and edge safety features is staggering. Our analysis shows that if all cars in the United States had been equipped with onboard computers and edge safety features, they could have avoided an additional 540 accidents per hour in 2018. That’s an additional 4.7 million accidents avoided in 2018, or 75 percent reduction in total accidents, and a whopping $33.5 billion in savings for the insurance industry from avoided claims in one year alone.
If we extrapolate this scenario and measure the savings between 2018 and 2030, there will be an estimated $240 billion dollars in avoided insurance claims.