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Driving

— Motorcycles

Screaming Banshee horn ensures that motorcycles get noticed

By - June 18, 2012 2 Pictures
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

GM studies driver attention in semi-autonomous cars

GM is looking at ways in which semi-autonomous driving technologies, which could be available in production vehicles by mid-decade, will influence driver behavior. Because the technologies set to be introduced in the coming years are designed to lighten the driver's load in certain circumstances but aren't advanced enough to let them "tune out" completely, GM is attempting to ascertain which technologies will help ensure the safety of vehicles with future autonomous systems. Read More
— Automotive

Disco ball-like side mirror for cars eliminates blind spots, without the fish-eye effect

By - June 8, 2012 2 Pictures
While there are already various anti-blind-spot automobile mirrors on the market, these all tend to incorporate a very curved surface that drastically distorts the appearance of objects seen in them – given that drivers use their mirrors to avoid getting in accidents, it’s kind of important that those mirrors show the surrounding traffic as it really is. That’s why Dr. Andrew Hicks, a mathematics professor at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, has created a side mirror that eliminates the blind spot, while causing almost no distortion. Read More
— Automotive

Autonomous road train project completes first public road test

By - May 28, 2012 2 Pictures
The automobile has been with us for more than a century and while road laws, traffic management and automotive technology in general have constantly evolved during that time, the act of driving remains essentially the same - it's all up to the person behind the wheel. That's what makes the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project so significant - it represents the beginning of a new era where the organized chaos of individual drivers can be blunted by a semi-autonomous "follow-the-leader" approach that has clear benefits for road safety, congestion and vehicle fuel consumption ... not to mention being a bonus for those of us who would rather read the paper than concentrate in the road ahead. As demonstrated by a platoon of Volvos driving automatically along a public motorway outside Barcelona recently, this reality may be closer than you think. Read More
— Automotive

Dragon Drive! aims to deliver distraction-free driving for the connected car

By - May 23, 2012 4 Pictures
Nuance Communications, the company responsible for the Dragon line of speech recognition software, has announced a new natural-language voice platform designed specifically for in car use. Targeted at automotive manufacturers and suppliers, the Dragon Drive! platform will allow hands-free and eyes-free dictation of text messages and emails, and voice control of car entertainment and navigation systems. Read More
— Automotive

Vibrating steering wheel gives directions and keeps drivers' eyes on the road

By - April 30, 2012 1 Picture
Many drivers would be lost – quite literally – without their in-car navigation systems. When installed in vehicles that some people would say are already overcrowded with instrumentation, however, could such systems be just one visual distraction too many? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and AT&T Labs are addressing that concern, by experimenting with a system that conveys navigational cues through vibrations in the steering wheel. Read More
— Automotive

Cadillac road testing semi-autonomous “Super Cruise” technology

By - April 23, 2012 2 Pictures
While much work is being done to bring autonomous vehicles to the roads, the closest most of us have yet got is cruise control, which has actually been around since the 1950s, appearing as “Auto-Pilot” in 1958 Chryslers and Imperials. Now Cadillac is looking to update things with road testing currently underway on a semi-autonomous technology dubbed “Super Cruise” that offers fully automatic steering, braking and lane-centering in highway driving – under certain conditions. Read More
— Good Thinking

Students design goop-filled bags to fill potholes

By - April 13, 2012 1 Picture
Have you ever mixed corn starch with water? If you have, you probably noticed how it oozed like a liquid when flowing across a surface, yet hardened like a solid if you suddenly struck it. That’s because the corn starch/water mixture is what’s known as a non-Newtonian fluid – the particles it’s composed of slide past one another easily when moving slowly, but jam against each other when forced to move quickly. Recently, a group of students from Cleveland’s Case Western University encased such a fluid within sturdy bags, to create a simple product that could be used to temporarily fill potholes in roads. Read More
— Urban Transport

Python 5000 patches potholes in minutes

By - March 24, 2012 3 Pictures
Nobody likes potholes, but it often seems that they’re one of those hardships we just have to put up with until they get almost impassable ... after all, it’s a big deal to send out a road crew who will have to block one or two lanes of traffic for half an hour or more, while they risk being struck by inattentive drivers. Apparently, however, pothole-filling needn’t be such an involved process. Cities now have the option of using the Python 5000, which is a vehicle that is operated by one person from inside its cab, and that can patch a two-foot (0.6-meter) pothole in about two minutes. Read More
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