Archive for the Category Safety Technology

 
 

Drivewyze System Seeks to Expedite Commercial Truck Inspections

Drivewyze recently held a demonstration of a system that reportedly allows commercial trucks to bypass weigh stations by relating safety information to the appropriate safety officials as they’re going by.  Representatives from such agencies as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the American Trucking Associations, and more were on hand at a Maryland weigh station to watch as trucks passed by.  As they did, the weigh station received a transmission of information related to the truck’s history and the track record of the driver.  An overseer is able to monitor logging records to verify that the particular vehicle is safe.  If it’s determined that further examination would be warranted, officials at the weigh station still have the ability to pull the commercial vehicle over to inspect it.

To learn more, follow this link.

Researcher Calls For Limits on Apps and In-Vehicle Technology

A researcher from the Motor Industry Research Association recently voiced his thoughts on the proliferation of automobile apps in the marketplace and their impact on distracted driving.  A supporter of the recent anti-distracted driving guidelines issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the doctor reasoned that apps which help get us to our destination or monitor our fuel economy are also creating information overload that has the potential to reduce driving ability.  He urges the United Kingdom to consider enacting voluntary guidelines similar to what the NHTSA has offered, saying that things like scrolling text, the internet, and social media should be placed out of a driver’s sight in a vehicle cabin.  He would also like to see maximum sound requirements put in place.

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NHTSA Rep Thinks More Could Be Done to Curb Distracted Driving

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a series of recommendations on curbing distracted driving.  What caught the notice of many was one particular passage that sought to put a voluntary guideline in place that would encourage automakers to refrain from installing dashboard systems that could distract a driver with various communications and internet applications.  But one key member of the NHTSA who recently spoke at Telematics Detroit wants to take things even further.  He has suggested that cellphones or vehicles come equipped with some type of sensor that can deduce when a cellphone user is driving and emit a warning when that persons attempts to text or talk on their phone.  The thinking is that this passive system would be better than technology requiring the driver to connect their phone directly to an automobile.

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NHTSA Makes Move to Support Self-Driving Vehicle Development

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are throwing their weight behind the advancement of self-driving cars like those being produced by Google.  They are encouraging testing that could progress the development of these systems by delineating how states might foster growth and promote the benefits of the technology.  In particular, the NHTSA hopes to get a handle on how “drivers” react to not being in control of their own vehicles and how such vehicles could be protected from hackers.  Regulators believe that autonomous vehicles could drastically reduce instances of crashes along our nation’s roads.

Click here for more about this development.

Balsi Beam Seeks to Protect Caltrans Workers

A new article looks at the development of the Balsi Beam, which seeks to protect workers in California from the threat of injury or death.  Named after a Caltrans employee who lost a leg in a roadside accident, the device is basically a guard rail attached to a state-operated truck parked along the road.  The thought is that an errant motor vehicle that would have struck a worker will instead hit the guardrail, protecting the individual in the process.  The device was recently put to the test at a West Sacramento track, and by all accounts, things looked to have gone well.  A team will analyze the data from that crash test in order to determine the Balsi Beam’s efficacy.  At the moment, five of the devices are available throughout California.

For more about the test, click here.

Multiple Apps Help To Limit Texting At The Wheel

A new report takes a look at some of the apps that drivers who just can’t stop themselves from texting and driving might be able to take advantage of.  First up is TextLimit, a website that allows subscribers to control exactly what phone functions are allowed at the wheel and at what speed.  DriveSafe.ly aims to allow the driver to communicate with text senders by way of reading incoming messages aloud to the driver.  In the meantime, an auto-response is sent to the texter.  Textecution targets parents of teenage drivers and allows an administrator to set a password in order to allow texting function while driving.  Until that password is entered, the teen driver won’t be able to text so long as their vehicle travels more than ten miles per hour.

For more about these apps, follow this link.

Does Gripgo Promote Or Hinder Distracted Driving?

For those attempting to get on the right side of handheld texting and driving bans, there are many technological options to consider.  One such device is Gripgo, which has been reviewed in a report out of Virginia.  A couple of taxi drivers were tasked with taking the device for a spin, and they acknowledged the benefit of having a phone readily available in a manner that didn’t take focus off the road.  But even though devices such as this seek to eliminate handheld communications, a member of the Sheriff’s Office of Kanawha County stresses the fact that a driver could still be distracted even with such a device.  He wants people to be cognizant of the fact that even a hands-free distraction can endanger oneself as well as nearby commuters.

For more about Gripgo, click here.

Hands-Free Texting and Driving Doesn’t Worry Siri Co-Creator

One of the creators of the popular iPhone application known as Siri has taken issue with a Texas Transportation Institute study that found hands-free texting can be just as dangerous as manual texting and driving.  The Southwest Region University Transportation Center sponsored the study, which found that reaction times were increased at similar levels whether the driver was using voice commands or typing in a text.  But the aforementioned Siri creator explains what he sees as a crucial flaw with the research.  He says that the study mistakenly assumes that all drivers’ eyes are going to be busy when composing the voice message.  However, he believes that someone truly only using the voice-activated functions of the app will be much safer than someone looking away to input a manual text.

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ORIGOSafe Anti-Texting Device Removes Temptation For a Price

A new article takes a look at an anti-texting and driving technology that pretty much takes temptation out of the equation entirely.  Known as the ORIGOSafe, the device is geared toward employers, parents of teens, and those people who know they absolutely won’t be able to help themselves from texting at the wheel.  The device is basically a small box that hooks up to your car.  You program it to disable engine starting capabilities until such time that you plug your phone in.  Texting capabilities will be disabled, and if the driver removes the phone while in transit, not only will the driver be confronted with an alarm, but the parent or employer of the driver (or some other administrator) will learn of the offense through an alert.  But at $279, will this be technology that gets widely adopted?

For more information, follow this link.

Volvo Introduces Onboard Cyclist Detection System

Volvo was on hand at the Geneva Motor Show last week to announce an onboard technology that aims to limit the danger posed to cyclists by vehicles.  The technology utilizes a forward-facing camera and a radar in the grille of the automobile to detect cyclists that are coming up in the road.  Once a person on a bicycle has been detected, the automobile operator will receive a signal from the system, and if action isn’t taken, the brakes will automatically be pressed.  Three years ago, the auto company unfurled a similar system that aims to detect pedestrians in the path of danger, but this more advanced technology has a higher price tag due to its requiring a greater processor.

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Text Buster Eliminates Driving Distractions For a Price

A new article takes a look at an anti-texting and driving system known as Text Buster.  However, its price point might be sufficiently high as to put off many drivers.  Text Buster is basically a device that one can install in a vehicle in order to disable those cellphone functions that typically create the biggest distractions.  When the driver starts their automobile, texting and even internet activity are automatically switched off by Text Buster.  The device is seen as more beneficial than an app that would be unable to determine the status of a vehicle, but such technology isn’t cheap: $180.  Still, it appears that employers are some of the biggest buyers of this system, as it allows them to be sure their workers aren’t texting at the wheel.

For more information, follow this link.

Size Matters When It Comes to Vehicle Safety

A new report comes to the conclusion that the largest vehicles on the road tend to also be the safest, but this fact is somewhat disappointing when you consider that large SUVs and trucks have fallen somewhat out of vogue because of their high price tag and propensity to blow through gas quickly.  A spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety explains that small cars are not the best choice for the most safety-conscious consumers, a statement backed up by Insure.com, whose rankings of the five safest vehicles include the Porsche Cayenne and four large GMCs.  Consumers are also advised to think about insurance rates before they buy their vehicle.  A smaller automobile might not make as much of a dent in your wallet, but you could make up the difference when it comes to higher insurance rates you’ll have to pay.

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Electric Vehicles Would Become Louder With NHTSA Mandate

Electric vehicles are increasingly being touted for their ability to cut down on gas prices and aid the environment, but such automobiles are relatively quiet.  It’s this lack of noise that has caused concern among the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  To help protect pedestrians and cyclists who might not be properly warned of an oncoming vehicle because of the lack of emitted noise, the NHTSA has introduced a rule that would mandate such sounds when the vehicle travels under 18 miles per hour.  A final ruling will be made once the public has a chance to comment on the proposal.  Automakers will be offered a cadre of noises to choose from.

For more information, follow this link.

Australian Technology Improves Vehicle to Infrastructure Communication

An Australian company has unveiled a device that they believe can greatly improve road safety, and the technology will soon receive funding from Cisco and a Dutch company known as NXP.  Cohda Wireless is responsible for the promising system, which can reportedly improve the connectivity necessary for onboard vehicle sensors to communicate with infrastructure along the roads.  By increasing both the range of such technologies and the data that is allowed to be transferred, the hope is that unseen obstacles such as tight curves or upcoming vehicles will be made known to the car and driver and an accident can be prevented.

For more information, follow this link.

Safety Technology Coming to a 2013 and 2014 Vehicle Near You

A new article delves into some of the new technologies being rolled out in 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles, and the section dedicated to safety in particular caught our attention.  First, the 2014 version of the Ford Fiesta will be the first vehicle of that type to be equipped with MyKey.  This system allows parents to limit the ability of teenagers to engage in certain activities.  A maximum speed limit can be set, and a warning of low levels of gasoline can be set to activate before fuel gets truly low.  And the Mercedes S-Class will be equipped with something called DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist.  This is basically a cruise control that also keeps the vehicle in the proper lane on straightaways and less intensive curves.

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FCC Chairman Urges FAA to Revisit Mobile Device Rules for Airplanes

Persons who frequently travel on airplanes are likely fed up with their inability to activate mobile electronic devices while in the midst of a flight.  However, there’s now a possibility that the rules that govern this behavior could change.  The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has thrown his two cents in, and he apparently wants the Federal Aviation Administration to look into how flight policies in regards to mobile device activation could be relaxed.  The FAA announced its intention to revisit these rules this past summer, but their research into different standards is only in the initial phases.  The threat to safety posed is widely considered to be fairly low, especially since the rules are likely ignored by many commuters anyway.

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New Technology Aims to Monitor Driver Health to Improve Safety

With vehicles becoming safer than ever, automobile manufacturers are now trying to figure out how they can determine the health of the person behind the wheel.  Through the use of biometric sensors, automakers like Ford, Toyota, and Mercedes hope to be able to get an accurate reading of the state of mind (and body) of the driver.  We could soon be living in a world where the steering wheel is able to gauge heart rate and body temperature, where cameras on the dashboard can evaluate whether or not you’re paying attention to the road, or where media screens in the dash can alert the driver to a drop in blood sugar.

Follow this link for more about the recall.

Do-It-Yourself Bike Project Aims to Promote Visibility

We don’t recommend necessarily going out and putting together your own bike, especially if you’re not an expert on such matters, but a recent story caught our attention because it shows the ambitious safety measures that can be put in place should one set their mind to the task.  For about $150 plus some labor, a blogger was recently able to turn a standard bicycle into a conveyance that was sure to catch the attention of motorists.  She installed a strobe light, brake lights, and even working turn signals to increase visibility and help alert drivers to the cyclist’s intentions, and a speedometer to keep track of safe speed.  A guide has even been made available to all those persons who would like to do something similar.

Click here to learn more about the bike.

NTSB Wants Collisions Avoidance Systems to Be Mandatory

The National Transportation Safety Board has declared that they would like to see collision avoidance systems come standard on all automobiles, including both standard vehicles and commercial vehicles.  Some of the technologies which the NTSB would like to see become the norm are electronic stability control, lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, forward collision systems, and in the case of commercial trucks, speed limiters and tire pressure monitoring technology.  These requests were detailed in a letter to the current administration.  Automobile manufacturers, however, are not too keen; the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers believes that making such tech standard would increase the price tag of vehicles by thousands of dollars, something they say is not warranted in a tough economy.

To learn more, follow this link.

List Showcases Most Valuable New Safety Features of 2013

A new article provides consumers with a list of what Inside Line believes to be the best new features that drivers can expect in vehicles of the 2013 model year, and some features look to have a marked impact on safety.  At the top of the list is a blind spot camera that can be found on the passenger side mirror of certain Honda Accords.  The moment a driver signals that they’re turning right, the camera displays its feed directly onto the vehicle’s display screen.  Other safety features included within the list are a Cadillac active collision prevention system designed for times when a vehicle backs up and a Nissan system designed to let drivers know when air pressure in tires is satisfactory so that they don’t overfill.

Click here to see the rest of the list.