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Road Safety

How Mercedes' future driver-assistance system works

Alcohol and speed are rightfully targeted as major causes of road accidents, but another deadly factor - falling asleep at the wheel - is not always given the profile it deserves in developing strategies to combat the road toll. In an effort to make driving safer for both the occupants of the vehicle and their fellow road users, Mercedes-Benz is working on a system that recognizes tiredness-related changes in personal driving style and warns the driver when it's time to take a break. Now entering the final stages of development and expected to go into series production in 2009, the Attention Assist system constantly monitors typical driving patterns to establish an individual profile and makes a decision on whether the driver is becoming tired when there is deviation from this saved data.  Read More

Astucia's the SolarLite™ “smart” road stud

November 21, 2007 As drivers we tend to ignore "cat's eyes" until we strike inclement weather or unfamiliar roads at night, at which point their safety value in showing us the road ahead comes very much to the fore. Standard reflective road studs rely on illumination from the headlight beams of the approaching vehicle and are effective to a distance of up to 90 meters, a situation that is being greatly improved by the application of solar power to the create stand-alone, self-powered illumination devices. The latest generation of solar road studs has just been announced by pioneering British company Astucia - the SolarLite™ “smart” road stud uses stored solar power to run built-in Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), providing an effective guide for drivers at up to a distance of 900 meters and extending reaction times from 3.2 to over 30 seconds when driving at 60mph.  Read More

Sanyo's CCA-BC200 rear view backup camera system

October 17, 2007 According to a new study from ABI research consumer demand is growing for active safety features in cars with technology advancing rapidly as a result. Radar- and lidar-based obstacle-detection systems continue to develop at the high end of the automobile market, and ultrasonic sensors dominate the low end.  Read More

Belkin update TuneBase FM transmitter for iPods

September 20, 2007 iPod accessories continue to multiply exponentially, and why not with over 110 million iPods sold to June 2007 according to Apple. The latest add-on to catch our attention is Belkin's updated model of its TuneBase FM transmitter which includes new Clearscan technology - a feature that automatically seeks out the clearest FM frequency through which to relay your music.  Read More

Lexus active driver safety system prevents accidents caused by innattention

September 6, 2007 With the aim of reducing the many road accidents caused by simple inattention, Lexus has introduced an active and intelligent new driver safety system using six cameras that monitor your face as you drive. If there’s an obstacle in your path and your head’s turned the wrong way, this clever car will hit the anchors for you. The system also incorporates active headrests designed to minimize injury in the event of a rear-end collision.  Read More

August 15, 2007 The combination of mobile phones and driving has been cited as a major cause of mobile related accidents by Students Against Destructive Decisions and the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group In a survey of over 900 American teens about driving habits, 37% claimed that text messaging while driving is more distracting than having friends in the car and 62% of students said their parents commonly practiced these behaviors while driving.  Read More

DVExperts' MOTA system records learner performance on a number of exercises in a scientifi...

August 1, 2007 Those who choose to ride motorcycles, including many of us in the Gizmag team, choose to accept a higher level of risk in our daily transport than a car driver. We mitigate this risk through higher levels of attention, roadcraft and dedicated development of riding skills than are typically displayed by drivers – and rider licensing and advanced training courses are a critical part of most riders’ development as safe, confident road users. Still, rider training and testing typically focuses on fairly nebulous goals and results that give the rider very little concrete feedback on their progress or areas of weakness, so Australia’s DVExperts have come up with a device that brings a new level of hard science to the process. Their Motorcycle Operator Training Assessor (MOTA) unit is a set of sensors the size of a deck of cards that can be attached to a bike to record reaction times, acceleration, braking forces, swerving forces and lean angles to provide a very clear readout of a student’s performance in each testing or training exercise along with their levels of improvement after a day’s training. This means license testing can be brought to a new level of consistency and accountability and we suspect the MOTA’s also going to be a fun piece of equipment for the trainers themselves to play with after hours.  Read More

This diagram shows positioning of side and curtain shield airbags, soon to be standard fit...

July 24, 2007 If you don’t die as a result of age or illness, today’s sad reality is that you’re most likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident. Car manufacturers have been working hard to reduce trauma from accidents, building in crumple zones, safety cells and driver/passenger airbags to maximise protection for the precious living cargo they carry, and these measures have been effective in reducing deaths and serious injuries in front and rear collisions. Recent figures, however, show that nearly three quarters of serious side collisions still result in head and upper body injuries – and it’s these injuries that Toyota’s latest initiative aims to combat. By fitting side-impact airbags and curtain shield airbags to all Japanese passenger cars as standard, Toyota believes it can reduce deaths from side impacts by as much as 37% - a huge step towards making the road a safer place to be.  Read More

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