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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

Raikkonen achieves polysport status

Despite being arguably one of the most well-rounded athletes in history, Michael Jordan's exploits on the baseball diamond didn't go close to matching the heights he achieved on the basketball court. Indeed, it's so uncommon to achieve world competitiveness in more than one sport, there's no word to describe (polysport?) such notables as Jim Thorpe, Lionel Conacher, Babe Didrikson, John Surtees and Denis Compton. World 2007 F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen is the latest to achieve international success in two sports, finishing eighth in the Jordan Round of the World Rally Championship this weekend, scoring world championship points in his second sport and just his third WRC rally.  Read More

The TomTom Start2 satnav system has many useful features including advanced lane guidance ...

It’s a jungle out there – an urban jungle. And if you have to negotiate a vehicle through it you’ll know how tough that can be, especially in an unfamiliar city or town. Take a wrong turn and it could be many miles before you regain your bearings and much wasted time before you reach your destination (don’t mention the wasted fuel). Sat-nav “institution”, TomTom, has launched TomTom Start2, a new entry level unit featuring advanced lane guidance, spoken street names and compatibility with the RDS-TMC traffic information system.  Read More

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