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The SARTRE project aims to automate slipstreaming of multiple vehicles on the highway

The European SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project, which is developing technology to automate slipstreaming of multiple vehicles on highways, is now a year into its three-year program. The first year has been spent ironing out the concept and investigating the requirements of a prototype system, as well as how people will react to using it. Now the program is set to enter the implementation phase, starting with the testing of a single lead and following vehicle.  Read More

AutoNOMOS labs Spirit of Berlin driverless car

Not so long ago, the idea that a car could drive itself seemed mildly insane, but thanks to the impetus provided by the DARPA Urban Grand Challenge and ongoing research around the globe, driving might become a hobby rather than a necessity much sooner than you think. One of the pioneers in the field, the Berlin-based AutoNOMOS group unveiled its latest project earlier this year. Known as FU-X "Made in Germany" the tech-laden VW Passat uses GPS, video cameras, on-board laser scanners and radars to navigate autonomously, giving it the potential to be used as a driverless taxi cab. Its latest trick – you can now hail it with an iPad.  Read More

Fraunhofer's Eyetracker driver monitoring system

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Ilmenau, Germany have created a system for warning drivers when they’re getting too drowsy to drive. The Eyetracker system utilizes two or more dashboard-mounted cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes, and sounds an alarm if their eyes are off the road for too long. It can apparently be mounted in any car, and doesn’t require complicated calibration of the cameras, or an external computer.  Read More

The Lexus driving simulator

At the Lexus research campus in Higashifuji, Japan, the automotive company has created what it claims is the most advanced driving simulator ever built. It consists of a 15 feet high by 20 feet wide domed pod which moves on a series of interlocking motion tracks within a hangar the size of a football stadium. Inside the pod, a full-size Lexus car is mounted on a turntable, and surrounded by an interactive 360-degree high-definition audio-visual simulation of real world driving environments. By allowing test drivers to safely experience various sketchy driving scenarios, the company hopes to learn more about driver behaviors and reaction times before accidents, then incorporate those findings into new active safety features in their cars.  Read More

University of Utah psychology doctoral student, Nate Medeiros-Ward, operates a driving sim...

In-car navigation systems that literally tell drivers where to go are much more convenient and safer than resting a street directory on one’s lap and quickly trying to devise a route on a map at a set of traffic lights. But audio instructions may not always be the best way to impart directional information to hard of hearing drivers or those yakking on a mobile phone – with a hands-free kit I should hope. A new study suggests that devices mounted to a steering wheel that pull the driver’s index fingertips left or right could help motorists drive more safely. The same technology could also be attached to a cane to provide directional cues to blind pedestrians.  Read More

Thanko's Car Laptop Holder for iPad

Released this week, Thanko's Car Laptop Holder for iPad is a twist on the company's Car Laptop Holder from a few years back. We have to admit that the method of attachment is not the most elegant, but if you're a driver who needs an iPad in the cab then this might be for you. Just make sure you don't have the WiFi iPad, otherwise you'll probably be hanging out in the garage or parking next to Starbucks all the time.  Read More

imaGinyze augments your driving experience with AR iPhone app

imaGinyze is a new app that brings augmented reality to your car via the iPhone. When mounted properly in the center of your dash, an iPhone with imaGinyze installed will detect the lane that you're in, marking it with border lines that match up with the painted lines on the road, and filling the inside with a blue overlay. Once the app has established your lane, it can detect any vehicles that are in front of you within a given range. imaGinyze will also flash a "Vehicle Ahead" alert when you're approaching a car from behind. Cars to the front are color-coded according to proximity – first green, next yellow as you approach, and then to red when you get close.  Read More

The VRX iMotion racing simulator

This may be hard to believe, but driving a real race car is actually not all that much like sitting on the couch and watching your TV. It’s a lot louder, shakier, and just generally a lot more immersive - qualities that are emulated by the VRX iMotion racing simulator. This man-boy’s toy features an Italian Sparco racing seat, customizable Clubsport accelerator, brake and clutch pedals, a force feedback steering wheel, a Bose 5-speaker surround sound system designed for 5.1-encoded games, and three-screen-wide NVIDIA GeForce 3D Surround Vision. Best of all, it also utilizes the D-BOX Motion Code, that uses an actuator to tilt and shake the cockpit according to what’s happening in the game.  Read More

Researchers from Yale's School of Engineering have installed some teeny motors inside a dr...

Today's automobiles are jam-packed with numerous sensors and warning systems to help drivers stay safe. Much of the feedback from such systems is provided visually, but there's so much going on that drivers may well be approaching overload. Researchers from Yale's School of Engineering have opted for a different mode of physical stimulus by installing tiny vibrating motors inside a driver's seat to advise of the approach of other vehicles.  Read More

A blind volunteer trying out Virginia Tech's BDC system in a dune buggy

Next January, before the Rolex 24 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, a Ford Escape will drive around part of the course. The catch: its driver will be blind. The event will be a demonstration of technology developed by the US National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech). Three years ago, Virginia Tech accepted the NFB’s Blind Driver Challenge (BDC), in which engineering schools were invited to design non-visual interfaces that would allow blind people to drive. From the sounds of things, the Rolex 24 demo could be just the tip of the iceberg.  Read More

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