Because We're All Human

Posted By
David Paja
Senior Vice President and President, Advanced Safety & User Experience

It’s the heart-stopping moment that almost every motorist will be familiar with. A split-second lapse in concentration, unexpected distraction or straightforward error of judgement while we’re at the wheel.

In most cases, it involves nothing worse than a near-miss, and a swift and timely reminder to keep our eyes on the road. Occasionally, however, the consequences can be tragic for drivers and pedestrians alike. In 2018 the number of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. reached a nearly 30-year high.

This is where active safety comes in.


The concept? Use technology to create a car that senses risk, and either alerts the driver to the potential danger or automatically takes the appropriate corrective action. In other words, instead of just trying to mitigate the damage caused by an accident let’s prevent that accident from happening in the first place.

In a remarkably short space of time, it’s a philosophy that’s moved from the design lab to the public road. Today, active safety systems such as emergency braking, lane assist and blind spot warning have become increasingly commonplace not just on premium brands, but mainstream models too.

And the implications are truly profound. Every year, 1.25 million lives are lost to road fatalities around the world. In itself, that’s a staggering figure. But even more so when you consider that the biggest single cause of those accidents is human error. On top of that, it’s been calculated that just a half-second improvement in reaction time could prevent 60 percent of all the road traffic accidents that take place.

Creating an active safety system that can be relied on to do exactly the right thing, at the right time, in all the potential situations and scenarios is a truly demanding challenge. One that involves a myriad of different technologies and technical disciplines.

As the very first technology provider to put radar on a car in 1999, and the first to integrate its multi-domain controller for Level 3 automated driving systems in 2017, Aptiv has been delivering highly advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for nearly 20 years.

In our new video, some of Aptiv’s 18,600-strong engineering team have done a great job of offering an insight into what’s involved. And what you will also see is why they are so committed to the journey. Everyone here at Aptiv is determined to use their expertise and accumulated experience to deliver solutions that mitigate for the unavoidable truth that we are, after all, only human.

No matter how well intentioned, we will make mistakes. As a result, the most exciting story from the automotive industry is not the impending arrival of the fully autonomous vehicle or the active safety technologies on the road today, but the fact that they offer us a vision in which we could finally put an end to tragic and needless loss of life on the world’s roads.