The UK has put in place some of the strictest drug driving laws on the planet in an effort to get drug-impaired drivers off the roads. Breath screening and blood tests will be used to detect eight illicit drugs at "zero tolerance" levels, and eight further prescription drugs at levels that would begin to impair driving. Naturally, since the British government can’t be seen to encourage recreational drug use, these limits haven’t been put into a practical context. So we contacted several drug testing experts and a forensic pharmacologist to try to work out what they mean. And as it turns out, some drugs will make you illegal to drive long after their physical effects have worn off.
Ever experienced road rage? Someone cuts you off while you’re trying to merge and next thing you know you’re tailgating them like a NASCAR driver at Fontana trying to get a slingshot off the bank. Then they hit the brakes … "screech-crash-bang" … there goes your platinum rating with the insurance company. What if an on-board emotion detection system could tell that you were getting annoyed and intervene? PSA Peugeot Citroen has teamed up with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to develop an emotion detection system designed to recognize signs of irritation and fatigue in a driver’s facial expressions.
Volvo has a history of shaping many safety features we take for granted today, regardless of what brand of car we drive. From the first introduction of the safety cage in 1944 and pioneering laminated windshields that same year, Volvo has always prided itself as a safety trailblazer. Now the Swedish automotive company is further developing its cloud-based infotainment system
as part of a safety-focused pilot project.
As some readers may already know, Volvo recently developed a system that uses an in-vehicle radar system
to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians and cyclists on the road in front of them. Now, Germany's Technische Universitaet Muenchen has come up with a system of its own, that can even detect pedestrians that aren't within line of sight of the car.
Cyclists wanting to notify other road users of stopping or turning intentions can use their arms, but it's not always convenient or safe to do so. Bike-based blinking technology like the Spooklight system
is a good way to go, but having to detach and carry your lights between rides to keep them out of the hands of opportunist thieves can be a bit of a pain. A sleeker idea would be to integrate a wirelessly-controlled lighting system into your backpack? That's precisely what SEIL from Myung Su Lee does. Bright directional arrows, stopping signals or custom animated text messages shine through the fabric at the back of the bag at the press of a button on a bar-mounted wireless controller.
In the quest for smarter and safer transportation networks, automakers have been working on communication systems
that use wireless technologies to share information between vehicles and infrastructure, such as traffic lights, road works, intersections and stop signs. The potential applications of these vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems are constantly being expanded, and while GM has been working to bring cyclists and pedestrians
into the mix, a team from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, is looking to improve safety at railway crossings by developing a system that enables communication between trains and road vehicles.
With government encouragement, London is seeing more cyclists taking to the road, which is great for the environment and public health. Unfortunately, London’s roads were built for oxcarts, not bicycles, and certainly not cyclists and lorries at the same time. Sat nav company Navevo, in association with Transport for London (TLC), is trying to make this combination a bit safer with Navevo’s ProNav HGV Cyclist Alert software, which provides visual and audible warnings of junctions and stretches of road with heavy cycle traffic.
Hot on the heels of Daimler announcing the largest ever field-test
of its car-to-X vehicle communications system
in Germany, a similar program being conducted by the U.S. Department of Transport (DoT) got underway this week in the Ann Arbor region of Michigan. Whereas the Daimler trial involves 120 network-linked vehicles, the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment Program will see some 3,000 vehicles hitting the road in the world's biggest ever real world test of connected-vehicle communication technology.
With mobile telecommunications technology and social networking revolutionizing the way people communicate, various automakers, including Audi
and Daimler, are looking at ways to looking to improve the communications capabilities of vehicles to allows them to easily exchange information with each other and infrastructure to help improve safety, efficiency and driver convenience. Daimler’s effort, called car-to-X (C2X) has now begun its largest ever field trial with 120 network-linked vehicles hitting the roads in Germany’s Rhine-Main region.
General Motors is working to expand upon its vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V)
communication systems that are being developed to allow information to be shared between vehicles and infrastructure to provide advance warning of potential road hazards, such as stalled vehicles, slippery roads, road works, intersections, stop signs and the like. The automaker is now looking to add pedestrians and cyclists to the mix so a car can detect them in low visibility conditions before the driver does.