Monday, February 07, 2011

A future without car crashes?

I just read an article in the BBC news about new technologies for cars to reduce crashes. Well, I think only one or two of the ideas told in the article could reduce crashes, the others are just stuff to deal with the damage after the crash. To actually get rid of the car crashes we would need to get rid of the cars. Even if we fully computerize the car and take the human away from the steering wheel, we'd still get some crashes due to malfunctions or extreme conditions. But we're not that far yet.

The item that actually sounds like it could prevent crashes is the Auto-brake system being developed by Volvo. The system looks for cars or pedestrians and if a crash is going to happen, it applies the brakes. The system seems to be designed to detect also pedestrians, not just cars. I think this will make texting, eating, reading and watching tv while driving more safe to others.

Information on the Advanced Vision System developed by GM is more vague. The system shows on a HUD where the curb is through heavy fog, allowing motorists drive faster. No mention is made if the system can also detect humans. I could find nothing with a quick google. In fact, the article says the system shows the edge of the road so "you can release your attention to other things that you should be scanning for." Speeding through the fog, trying to detect humans with old eyeballs mk.1?

In fact, I like both ideas, with a little tweaks.

The HUD system should not show the road. It should scan for humans and big animals, deers and elks and the likes. You do not want to hit any of them, so you want to see them. The auto-brake system should scan for all these things mentioned above. If the system had to brake, it would give you a few electric shocks to teach you a lesson. If it had to brake to avoid hitting a human, it'd give you lots of shocks, just to make sure you noticed.

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