Photokina 2014 highlights

Accidents

Nissan's Autonomous Emergency Steering System is designed to steer the car to safety when ...

In the same way that we didn’t go straight from landline phones to smartphones, there are likewise going to be some intermediate steps between today’s manually-driven cars and tomorrow’s fully self-driving models. We’re already seeing some of those steps starting to pop up, in the form of things like Cadillac’s Super Cruise control, Volkswagen’s Temporary Auto Pilot, and Volvo’s traffic jam assistance system. Nissan’s latest contribution is its recently-announced Autonomous Emergency Steering System.  Read More

A new device could help keep transport trucks from jack-knifing (Photo: Shutterstock)

If there’s one thing that truck drivers don’t want their articulated tractor/trailer rigs to do, it’s jack-knifing. This typically occurs when the tractor skids on the road, and the momentum of the trailer causes it to swing out from behind, ultimately resulting in the tractor and trailer being folded up against one another – not unlike a jack knife’s body and blade. The folded rig usually ends up blocking the road, and the tractor can’t undo the situation under its own power. Fortunately, Greek researchers have recently created a system that they claim could greatly reduce jack-knifing.  Read More

The Morpheus lander ignites after crashing (Video still: NASA)

A free test flight of NASA's prototype Morpheus lander ended prematurely, spectacularly and in flames on Thursday when the vehicle lost stability directly after take off, crashed upside down into the dirt, before experiencing a number of explosions that left the lander in flames and apparently completely destroyed. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident.  Read More

The Screaming Banshee is an add-on 139-decibel motorcycle horn, that allows riders to stil...

As Gizmag’s Loz Blain will tell you from personal experience, one of the biggest dangers faced by motorcyclists involves not being noticed by drivers of larger vehicles. The small-car-like horns that come as standard equipment on most bikes do little to address that situation, which is why electrical engineer Peter Olt invented the Screaming Banshee. It’s an aftermarket motorcycle horn that blares at a sure-to-be-noticed 139 decibels – but only when the situation calls for it.  Read More

A team of engineering students are designing a new type of cervical collar, that reportedl...

When a person injures the region of their spine immediately below their skull, emergency medical technicians apply what is known as a cervical collar. The devices first saw use in the Vietnam War, where medics needed a quick and simple system that could be used to immobilize the heads and necks of injured soldiers. In the years since, however, some studies have suggested that by pushing the head up and away from the body, the collars may cause the vertebrae to separate – actually making some spinal injuries worse. Fortunately, a team of six undergraduate engineering students from Houston’s Rice University are now developing a new type of cervical collar, that keeps the head still in a safer fashion.  Read More

In yet another example of internet mass media hysteria (reporters not checking facts and racing to get the story out quickly in the unholy pursuit of the holy dollar), a pile-up of 14 cars in Japan on Sunday morning has been universally labelled as the the world's most expensive automobile accident. Among the wreckage were eight Ferraris (including two F430s, two F355s, two 360 Modenas and an F512), a Lamborghini Diablo, a Nissan GT-R and a Mercedes CL600, and while there will certainly be a few very expensive repair bills, the crash doesn't even come close to being the world's most costly.  Read More

MIT has developed an algorithm that predicts which cars are likely to run a red light, so ...

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for the year 2008, over 700 fatalities resulted from drivers running red lights at intersections across the United States. Approximately half of the people killed weren’t the errant drivers themselves, but were other drivers, passengers or pedestrians who simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. One approach to reducing these numbers is to utilize technology such as Mercedes Benz’s Smart Stop system, that won’t let drivers run red lights. Scientists at MIT are looking at the problem from another angle, however – they have developed a system that identifies cars likely to run the reds, so that the other drivers can be warned to stay out of their way.  Read More

Gizmag's Loz Blain comes far too close for comfort during our latest video shoot

It's fair to say we nearly lost one of our team a couple of days ago. Gizmag feature writer and videographer Loz Blain was out test riding the amazing BMW S1000RR superbike with a friend on board when he survived an extraordinarily close call with an oncoming 4WD that had drifted onto the wrong side of the road. As he was filming for a video review, he had a high-definition camera on board to record the incident, so without further ado here's the footage - and a reminder that not all single vehicle accidents are the rider's fault.  Read More

The Voztec helmet has a detachable back section, for easy removal in the event of an accid...

Although motorcycle helmets save countless lives, they can pose a challenge to emergency response personnel at accident scenes – the helmet needs to be removed, yet the patient’s head should be moved as little as possible, in case there are any spinal cord injuries. While this sometimes results in the helmet having to be cut off, the prototype Voztec full-face helmet offers a simpler solution - with the release of one pin and two clips, the back of the helmet detaches and the front can be slid off.  Read More

OPINION: Distracted driving - the insanity of public roads

The distracted driving epidemic seems to know no bounds. With global road deaths set to exceed 1.5 million human beings in 2011, almost every country in the world continues to accept the mayhem on the roads as the cost of doing business. Distracted driving is the hot topic of the moment with research suggesting 5,800 U.S. traffic deaths last year were tied to motorists who failed to keep their eyes on the road. Another study claims American drivers are distracted between one-quarter and one-half of the time, two-thirds of drivers use a cell phone while driving, one-third used a cell phone routinely and observational studies suggest between 7% and 10% of all drivers are using a cell phone at any given time. If you think that's bad, you should see what happens in Asia. Mike Hanlon spent a few months on the road in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand - his photography of everyday motoring in largely motorcycle-mounted countries will leave you aghast.  Read More

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