Still, with 1.35 million people perishing on the world's roads each year, there remains much safety-related work to be done. Smart lighting can help do it.
One way it can do it is via its ability to host sensors that can keep track of roadway conditions and other things that can impact safety. In the future, thousands of sensors integrated into thousands of connected roadway luminaires will be able to monitor weather and surface conditions, opening up new frontiers when it comes to giving drivers the information they need.
Drivers have long known to slow down on potentially icy roads—but connected sensor tech could indicate to them that this bridge or that stretch of sunless asphalt is treacherous, not as a matter of common sense, but as a matter of exact real-time data. Drivers could then adjust their driving appropriately.
Sensors can keep track of things other than the weather, too. Potholes, stalled vehicles, downed trees: connected lighting tech has the potential to make all such things far less treacherous, with sensors detecting such conditions and feeding alerts back to central nodes for dissemination.
Incident detection technology will also be key when it comes to safety. Acoustic sensors that pick up the sounds of car accidents can, for example, serve as the on-site “ears" of communications systems that dispatch first responder teams to crash sites with unprecedented speed.
Smart lighting can also adapt to ambient light conditions. On moonless overcast nights, such lighting will boost its illumination levels to make up for the extra darkness. Smart lighting can adapt to ambient daylight levels to ease driver transitions into, and out of, tunnels, allowing drivers' eyes to efficiently adjust as they emerge into, or drive out of, brighter light.
And so on. We're only at the beginning of the work that lighting can do in making roadway mobility safe.