We all know that the new sedans, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks rolling off dealer lots over the last several years have gotten progressively safer, outfitted with new safety technology designed to not only prevent potentially fatal injuries in the event of crashes, but actually prevent crashes altogether.
It's important to appreciate, however, that it's not just the passenger vehicles that have gotten safer, but also the semi trucks hauling cargo across the nation. Indeed, many of these big rigs are now equipped with things like crash avoidance systems and rollover prevention technology, which have undoubtedly served to make the roads and highways safer.
As effective as this technology has proven to be, companies are still hard at work trying to develop something that will make trucks even safer. Indeed, auto giant Daimler is actively testing self-driving technology in semis, while electronics giant Samsung is currently working on a so-called transparent big rig.
What is a transparent big rig?
Samsung has created a prototype called the "Safety Truck" that is essentially a standard semi hauling a trailer whose backend is equipped with large digital displays that broadcast a real-time feed of the road ahead via cameras placed around the front of big rig.
This, in turn, creates a sort of transparency, as the projected image enables drivers following the truck to essentially see through it to the road ahead.
What's the point of this technology?
It can help reduce the risk of fatal high-speed accidents caused by motorists either failing to see or misjudging traffic while trying to overtake a truck on a two-lane road. Similarly, it can help reduce the risk posed by rear-end collisions, as drivers behind the truck can see any obstructions in the road or traffic stopped ahead.
What's the future for this intriguing technology?
Right now, it's somewhat unclear as Samsung's prototype is no longer on the road. However, the company has expressed its belief in the technology and its intention to secure the necessary permits and approvals from various governments to expand testing. It isn't clear whether this would include the U.S.
Here's hoping this technology proves successful and that our nation's trucking fleet continues to get safer ...