Car that saves lives
Researchers from Spain have created a ‘smart’ car belt which continuously monitors the driver’s heart and breath rate and produces sound alerts when it “understands” that the driver is going to fall asleep at the wheel. The system called “HARKEN” can save lives if the driver is tired.
HARKEN is based on “smart” fabrics with incorporated electronic sensors, which are placed both in the belt and in the driver’s seat. These materials are made of fibers and filaments with electrical properties and are mixed with the ordinary materials that are used for belts and seat covers. The “smart” system adds to the long list of systems and technologies which are being developed every day and are aimed to turn cars into advanced ‘living’ organisms.
Toyota wants to revolutionize the vehicle-driver relationship creating a futuristic car that would emotionally connect with its owner.
The FV2, as Toyota calls its new vehicle, is equipped with advanced driver monitoring systems such as cameras, voice recognition technology, and related software analysis. With these “weapons” the vehicle is able to distinguish the mental state of the driver. But it doesn’t stop there as you’ll see from the video below:
According to the executives of Toyota, the FV2 integrates revolutionary augmented reality technology, with which the driver can even change the color of the vehicle depending on their mood.
Controlling your car with gestures
Many companies are developing technologies that will allow drivers to activate certain vehicle functions with simple nods and gestures. Ford and Google are developing technology that, as claimed by the executives, allows the driver to open the windows, turn on the air conditioning and other various systems of the car with a simple gesture. For example, the driver can open or close a window with the thumb pointing up or down.
The technology is based on using 3D cameras and voice recognition systems. The cameras will monitor the movement of the driver and transmit commands to the central control system of the vehicle, which will perform them.
Braking with your mind
Researchers in Germany found that it is possible for a car driver to stop the vehicle motion without pressing the brakes but only by thinking about doing so! Experiments have shown that in this way the braking is faster, which increases the margin as not to cause an accident.
Researchers at the Institute of Technology of Berlin put some volunteers in driving simulators, placed electrodes on their head and used the method of electroencephalography (EEG) to analyze their brain activity.
Volunteers had to keep a distance of 20 meters from the vehicle in front. The simulator was programmed in such a way that the driver of the vehicle in front suddenly pressed the brakes.
The system detected the volunteer’s intention to brake, and it was found that the gap between thinking and action was 130 milliseconds. This means that if a car is moving at a speed of 100 km/h and the braking is done with the thought, the vehicle will stop about 4 meters behind the point where it would stop if the driver pressed the brakes in the usual way.
Thus, if a practical way to connect the braking mechanism to the brain function of the driver is implemented, road accidents would be reduced significantly.
While many of these new advances in car-tech are extremely exciting, there is also some downside to all of it. With all the recent news coming out about NSA spying, control freak corporations, and the increasing concern over ones personal privacy and liberties slipping away, one cannot help but ask who would be monitoring these systems? And when (or if) we are going to ditch the fossil fuels and incorporate greener, new energy technology into the vehicles of the future.. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this below.
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Featured image credits: Toyota’s FV2 Concept vehicle (From Dvice)
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