NASA has successfully carried out the first of three airborne tests for its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator
(LDSD), a saucer shaped test vehicle which will one day be used to slow down scientific payloads entering the atmosphere of Mars. This new system of atmospheric deceleration will allow the agency to contemplate heavier, more ambitious endeavors, building towards a manned mission to the Red Planet.
We first covered the Hövding airbag collar
in 2010 when it was originally shown off to the world by its inventors, industrial designers Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin. At the time it was available to pre-order but it has now officially gone on sale.
Flight data recorders, commonly known as “black boxes,” have been a standard feature in airliners since the early 1960s. More recently, various companies have started offering apps
and dedicated devices
that essentially serve as black boxes for cars, keeping a record of the vehicle’s parameters and location when involved in an accident. Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing that similar devices become mandatory in all new light passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. by September 1st, 2014.
It’s no secret that teen drivers have to pay higher automobile insurance rates than most people – after all, they’re less experienced, and some of them can be pretty reckless. If you’re a good teen driver or one that doesn’t drive much, however, it might seem rather unfair that you have to pay rates that are based on the worst driving habits of your peers. Well, Gibraltar-based insurethebox has what it claims is a better alternative – teens’ cars are fitted with a telematics box that records the way and amount that they drive, and they end up paying less for their insurance if they drive well.
Watch any of those Caught on Tape!
-type shows, and you’ll know just how valuable an in-car “black box” camera can be. Not only does it provide a visual record of who was at fault in an accident, but you can also use it to record any other questionable activity that takes place in front of your car. While most of the “sensational” footage comes from cameras in police cars, civilian versions such as the CarCam Voyager
and the envisionCAM
are available for us regular folk. You can go ahead and pay US$100 to $575 for one of those ... or you can shell out 99 cents for the iCar Black Box iPhone app.
Industrial designer Evan Solida started racing road bicycles in 1993, and went on to experience some success in the sport ... until he was hit by a car on a training ride in 2007. He flew over the hood of the car and landed on his face, which resulted in his requiring several cosmetic surgeries. Although physically still able to ride, he was left with a fear of being in another such accident, to the point that he stopped racing. The experience also, however, prompted him to invent a couple of unique devices – a rearview video setup for bikes, along with a “black box” system that automatically records any accidents the cyclist is involved in.
Airbags have been cushioning drivers in accidents since the 1980’s and are now standard equipment on most new cars sold around the world. With cyclists and motorcyclists being much more vulnerable on the road than their car-enclosed cousins there have been a number of devices designed to bring the protection of an airbag to vehicles of the two-wheeled variety, including the Hit-Air jacket
and Honda’s motorcycle airbag
. The latest is an airbag collar aimed at cyclists called the Hövding that is worn around the neck and inflates to enclose the rider's head in the event of an accident.
Before we go any further, let’s get this out of the way right up front – nothing is ever going to stop cars from running into things. Until drivers are taken out of the equation completely, accidents will always happen. Nonetheless, Dutch tech company Mobileye has declared that with the release of its new C2-270 collision warning system, “an end to motor vehicle collisions [is] now in sight.” This system warns drivers of dangerously-close cars
, alerts them when drifting out of their lane
and includes a Pedestrian Collision Warning component.