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Driving

— Automotive

Team attempting to set record time for 23,000 km drive from Melbourne to St Petersburg

This week, a team of three drivers will set out to tackle a 23,000 km (14,291 mile) drive from Melbourne, Australia to its sister city of St Petersburg in Russia. The Challenge4 crew will be attempting to set a world record time of 16 days by driving their Volkswagen Touareg TDI in five-hour shifts for 24 hours a day. Carrying enough provisions for the entire trip, the only time the vehicle will be at standstill will be when refueling or when being transported across water. Read More
— Automotive

Semiautonomous driving system takes over when drivers make mistakes

We all like to think we're in control ... never more so than when we're behind the wheel of a car, but there are occasions when errors in judgement can lead to a gentle bump, or something far worse. MIT researchers have developed a semiautonomous collision avoidance system where the human driver has full control of the vehicle until the system detects that the car is headed for a collision or is too close to an obstacle for safety. When such a hazard is detected, the system will take control of the vehicle, bring it back within a calculated safe zone, and then hand control back over to the driver. Read More
— Automotive

Experimental headlight system can see through rain and snow

Driving at night in falling rain or snow can be treacherous, but not just because the asphalt is slippery – visibility is also greatly reduced, as the driver’s view of the road ahead is obscured by brightly headlight-lit raindrops or snowflakes. In the future, however, that may not be so much of a problem. A team led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Prof. Srinivasa Narasimhan has developed an experimental headlight system that renders most foreground precipitation virtually invisible, while still adequately illuminating the road beyond. Read More
— Automotive

Ford developing biometric systems to manage "driver workload"

The Ford Motor Company recently invited Gizmag to attend its Go Further With Ford 2012 conference on technological trends, which took place last Tuesday through Thursday in Detroit. One of the presentations that we took in looked at the automaker’s MyFord Touch system, and where that technology may be heading. Among other things, the Ford engineers want the system to be able to automatically ascertain how mentally-taxed the driver is, so it can determine if it should deliver notifications to them, or just shut up and let them drive. Read More
— Children

ChildMinder reminds drivers not to leave their baby in the car

Hard though it may be for most of us to believe, it is possible for parents to forget that they’re driving with a baby in the car. If they subsequently leave the infant locked in a very hot or cold parked vehicle for several hours, the results can be deadly. That’s why Baby Alert International is offering the ChildMinder Infant-Toddler Elite Pad System – it’s a setup that notifies absent-minded parents if they try walking away from their car, sans baby. 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
— Motorcycles

Screaming Banshee horn ensures that motorcycles get noticed

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
— Automotive

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

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

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
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