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Autonomous driving would allow drivers to relax on trips (Image: Volvo)

The SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project that first hit the road in 2011 before conducting its first public road test earlier this year has now been completed. As well as finding that semi-autonomous “follow the leader” road train technology is mature enough for practical applications in the near future, the participating partners in the project have concluded that it could be integrated on conventional highways and operate in a mixed environment with existing road users.  Read More

A new device could help keep transport trucks from jack-knifing (Photo: Shutterstock)

If there’s one thing that truck drivers don’t want their articulated tractor/trailer rigs to do, it’s jack-knifing. This typically occurs when the tractor skids on the road, and the momentum of the trailer causes it to swing out from behind, ultimately resulting in the tractor and trailer being folded up against one another – not unlike a jack knife’s body and blade. The folded rig usually ends up blocking the road, and the tractor can’t undo the situation under its own power. Fortunately, Greek researchers have recently created a system that they claim could greatly reduce jack-knifing.  Read More

Lenses made of amorphous chalcogenide glass

Driving a car in the country at night can be a scary. The combination of poor visibility and animals or other hard to spot obstacles on the road poses an obvious threat to both the car and its occupants. Some luxury models now have the option of forward looking infrared (FLIR) night vision systems, so you can see the animal in time to swerve. Unfortunately these systems are pricey, even as an aftermarket add-on, but that may soon change through the work of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (IWM) in Freiburg, Germany. The researchers have invented a way of bringing down the cost of the infrared lenses in FLIR systems down by 70 percent - opening the way to cheap FLIR cameras for the mass market.  Read More

The Challenge4 team of Rainer Zietlow, Vlaimir Gagarin and Marius Biela on the banks of th...

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

MIT researchers have developed a semiautonomous safety system which allows a human driver ...

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

A lab test illustrating how the new system can make raindrops 'disappear'

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

Jeff Greenberg (right) demonstrating the MyFord Touch intelligent test rig (Photo: Gizmag)...

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

The ChildMinder Infant-Toddler Elite Pad System is designed to keep parents from forgettin...

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

General Motors researchers, such as Innovation Program Manager Jeremy Salinger, are studyi...

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

The Screaming Banshee is an add-on 139-decibel motorcycle horn, that allows riders to stil...

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

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