London, Dec 4 : A mathematician at Drexel University in Philadelphia is working on an idea to develop the perfect curved wing mirror surface for vehicles, which would lead to fewer road accidents in the future.
According to a report in New Scientist, the US Department of Transportation says that in 1994 alone, lane changes and lane merger crashes were the cause of 244,000 crashes, causing 225 deaths and many serious injuries.
"That is largely down to the poor view afforded by wing mirrors," said Andrew Hicks, a mathematician at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Mirrors usually have a curved design, which is supposed to increase the field of view.
But, according to Hicks, that also introduces distortion to a dangerous degree, causing drivers to make wrong judgements about the position of their car relative to other objects.
The reason is that curved wing mirrors have in the past been designed essentially by hand, using trial and error to determine what seems to work.
Hick's idea is to use a mathematical model and a computer instead, an approach he says can calculate the perfect curved wing mirror surface, with an increased field of view but no distortion.
The designs generated can be easily used to program factory machines to create mirrors to the exact specification, he claims.