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Putting the brakes on running red lights - Mercedes Benz 'Smart Stop' technology

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October 16, 2009

The Mercedes Benz Smart Stop technology allows intersections and vehicles to communicate
 ...

The Mercedes Benz Smart Stop technology allows intersections and vehicles to communicate (Image: Boing Boing Gadgets)

Taking driver-assist technology to the next level is the “Smart Stop” system currently in development by Mercedes Benz. The wireless safety system, which allows intersections to communicate with vehicles, would automatically cause a car to stop at a red light should a driver fail to heed it.

Gordon Peredo, of Mercedes' Research and Development unit told Boing Boing that the system allows vehicles to converse with “smart” intersections. A monitor incorporated into a car’s dash would feature information shared by the two, such as real time traffic data and the vehicle’s distance from the approaching intersection. He also says that cars implemented with the wireless transceivers would be able to communicate with one another – possibly alleviating the potential problem of a rear end pile up should one car be stopped suddenly.

Of course for this type of road safety technology to be effective it would require not only a blanket upgrade of communication standards and infrastructure but also the co-operation of national and local governments, and the industry as a whole – certainly no mean feat.

So while Mercedes Benz is hoping to see this type of technology soon join the likes of current driver assist systems like lane departure warnings and proximity detectors, it may be some time before this radical leap forward in driver safety makes it onto the roads.

Via Boing Boing Gadgets

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6 Comments

no one would ever hack them..............

waltinseattle
16th October, 2009 @ 11:45 am PDT

I will never buy a car that has this. I don't run red lights or come even close .

I am not going to buy into the big brother mentality even when it's dressed up as a borg.

Thee Lip
16th October, 2009 @ 12:01 pm PDT

The big brother aspect is irksome, but this technology strikes me as useful. I recently went through a red light inadvertently. I saw it change green, wasn't too far away, but when I looked up again it was already red! Possibly the quickest light in the world.

I'm grateful, of course, that no other vehicles were in the vicinity, but it could have been a very bad situation. This solution from Mercedes would prevent such a tragedy.

tjshire
16th October, 2009 @ 08:55 pm PDT

Yeah..... AUTOMATIC things are just great, while that very limited range of circumstances are all that is has to operate in.....

What about when the lights are defective and are stuck on red?

What about when your at the red light and are getting car jacked?

What about when the truck coming up behind you has no brakes and you need to accelerate out of the way - through the red light?

What about when your badly injured and need to run a redlight to get to the hospital - and there is no traffic coming through the intersection?

I can see an enormous amount of benefit to this device - including drivers who are now so automated in the process of driving that they are just about able to sleep at the wheel....

I also believe that really sophisticated systems CAN be really good - except when!

A "safety expert" made the point that the safer we make cars, the worse they are; he said that cars should be made with no doors or seat belts, and a big steel spike that comes out of the steering wheel - stopping about 30cm away from your face.

Here is a computer controlled plane - I rest my case:



Mr Stiffy
19th October, 2009 @ 12:00 am PDT

I agree that there are a lot of cases where one would not want automatic braking for a red light. Assistance is better than forceful intervention.

I would also want a system that tells me when to lift off the accelerator (and go into neutral and have my engine shut off) so that I do not have to brake for a light. In that case, drivers would almost never come close to running a red light because the traffic signal communicates to the car about when it will turn red, and the car then uses the distance and slope in order to recommend a speed.

In that case, the system would be supporting a good driver's efforts to obtain the best fuel economy and minimize emissions. It is not easy to accurately predict light changes. Communicating traffic lights and on-board computers could do it perfectly.

The best way to implement this would be through the throttle linkage. When the car approaches the right speed, the throttle response could get mushy. It should still be possible to gun the engine if the driver wants a burst of power. A similar system was tested with a large number of people in France to help them obey the speed limit. It was well received.

Bruce McHenry
29th October, 2009 @ 06:33 pm PDT

One way to make this technology useful to the user (ie, driver) is that the system identify speed and stoplight cameras. So that when the vehicle encounters a speed camera it will automatically slow the car down to the posted speed, then when the vehicle is out of range of the speed camera, resume the speed the vehicle was traveling before it reached the speed camera...This would be a great help to the driver...but it will not be built since municipalities all make loads of money off of these cameras and they would most likely lobby heavily against this kind of technology!

Ed

Ed
30th October, 2009 @ 01:14 pm PDT
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