In-car computer system can help slash road accidents

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London, Feb 4 (ANI): A new study has revealed that road accidents can be slashed if cars had an in-built computer system with data on weather and road conditions.

Sony and VTT, Finland's top transport-research lab conducted the research.

Nikolaos Georgis of the Sony Technology Center in San Diego, California, said erecting electronic road signs is expensive and warnings are frequently missed.

He along with colleagues filed for a US patent for an in-car computer system, which contains a database of the speed limits on every road in the nation.

According to him, it could be built into the satellite navigation or entertainment system.

The in-car computer would work by acquiring a stream of local weather data, like from a nearby digital TV transmitter, it could then calculate new stopping distances and display or announce a new recommended speed limit.

It could even assume a measure of control to prevent the car exceeding certain speeds in wet or icy conditions.

But Pertti Peussa, who is an R and D engineer with VTT in Tampere, Finland, did not like the speed control option.

"What happens if you are passing a truck with an oncoming car on the horizon and suddenly your vehicle speed is lowered?" New Scientist quoted Peussa as asking.

Peussa has been working with Volvo and Fiat to find out which car sensors are best for the direct detection of adverse road conditions - and developing software that advises the driver of the appropriate speed.

With funding from the European Union, they have been pointing infrared lasers, microwave radars and cameras at the road ahead of cars to detect the surface conditions.

Radar proved to be the best option as it is able to detect dry, wet, icy or snowy road surfaces 30 metres ahead. Lasers often missed ice, while low light foiled cameras.

Peussa says the ultimate aim is to design friction sensors that can be mounted within tyres, but they are years away, as the heat and shock tyres experience is "murder for sensors". (ANI)

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