Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Safety

TRW's roof-mounted airbag in testing

Three years ago, we first heard about TRW Automotive's new roof-mounted airbag system. At the time, the company claimed that it had a "significant production contract" with an unnamed auto manufacturer, that might see the technology appearing on production vehicles. Now, TRW has announced that the airbags will be standard on the new Citroen C4 Cactus.  Read More

Rearview camera systems will be mandatory on new vehicles in the US from May 2018  (Photo:...

Most of the safety features made mandatory by lawmakers, such as seat-belts and airbags, provide protection to those inside the vehicle. But in a move to protect those outside the vehicle, specifically, in the blind spot behind the vehicle, the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a proposed rule requiring rearview cameras to be installed in all new vehicles under 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) in the US from May, 2018.  Read More

British drivers will soon face 'zero tolerance' drug driving laws (Photo: Shutterstock)

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.  Read More

The Trigger Bell allows riders to ring their bell without repositioning their hand

Imagine if your car's horn was controlled by a button on the dash, that you had to reach for every time you wanted to honk it. It would be OK for some situations, but not those in which every second counts. Well, that's kind of how things are with bicycle bells. That's why London cyclist Stefan Buxton invented the Trigger Bell.  Read More

Ducati's Multistrada D-Air, with wireless airbag jackets.

Ducati has announced a new version of its stunning Multistrada 1200 sports-tourer (check out our video review) that wirelessly inflates airbag jackets for both rider and passenger in the event of a crash. A step forward from the motorcycle airbag Honda showcased in its Goldwing series, the Ducati system can protect the rider and passenger even once they’ve separated from the bike.  Read More

Real-time data about slippery patches on the road is used to warn nearby vehicles nearby

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.  Read More

The Lumen Retro-Reflective City Bicycle from San Francisco's Mission Bicycle Company

Pimping your person and your ride with reflective materials, bright lighting or glow-in-the-dark paint jobs to be as visible as possible to motorists at night can mean the difference between getting home safely or saying hello to a world of pain ... or worse. Inspired by passing highly-reflective street signs during daily rides and wondering why such technology couldn't be applied directly to bikes, the folks at San Francisco's Mission Bicycle Company have developed Lumen. During daylight hours, the city bike looks pretty much like any other, but when night draws in, light from car headlights hitting the city bike's retro-reflective frame and wheel rims is returned directly back to its source.  Read More

Volvo Driver State Estimation uses a dash-mounted infrared sensor

Back in the days of black-and-white newsreels, an inventor came up with a bell on a collar that rang whenever a motorist wearing it nodded off. Since this is the 21st century, Volvo is developing a high-tech version of this gadget. It uses face recognition technology to let a car know when the driver is tired or inattentive, so appropriate action can be taken.  Read More

The Pedestrian SCOOT system follows on from TfL's Pedestrian Countdown program (Image: TfL...

Ever walk halfway across a road only to have the light change and force you to make an undignified rush to the other side? The answer is almost certainly yes. If you’re in London, that may soon be a thing of the past however, with Transport for London announcing upcoming trials of an "intelligent" pedestrian crossing. Called the Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT), it’s part of a £2 billion to £4 billion program to improve roads over the next ten years and decrease traffic fatalities in the capital by 40 percent by the year 2020.  Read More

The Revolights Arc knows how fast you're going, and shines accordingly

Revolights is a bicycle lighting system that first came to our attention three years ago, in which the front of the front wheel lights up to serve as a headlight, while the back of the rear wheel illuminates to act as a tail light. While it's a clever setup, at US$229 for a full kit, it's not cheap. That's why its designers have just announced a more affordable alternative called the Revolights Arc, that combines a tail light and wheel-speed-activated brake light.  Read More

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