The dashboard app letting cars warn each other

Daily Mail
13.07.2011
By Daily Mail Reporter

The dashboard app that could stop pile-ups on the motorway by letting cars warn each other in seconds

What do you do if you’re driving down the motorway and there is an accident half a mile ahead?

Now there is an app that can tell your car to stop a matter of seconds after the incident takes place.

Researchers at the University of Bologna who developed the software said it warns the driver in half the time of current systems on the market.

The scientists hope the automatic accident detection system could reduce the number of vehicles involved in pile-ups by up to 40 per cent.

They plan to carry out road tests this summer around the campus of the University of California in Los Angeles, in partnership with engineers from Toyota.

Project leader professor Marco Roccetti, said: ‘Basically, what we are doing is placing cars in peer to peer communication.’

If an accident occurs further along the road, the car finds out about it from  one of the cars ahead in a split second and informs the driver.

The first car to set off the alarm is the one involved in the accident.

‘All it requires is an acceleration sensor,’ said co-author Gustavo Marfìa.

‘There are anomalous movements which can only be caused by an accident.’

With hundreds or even thousands of vehicles on an eight-lane motorway, the problem lies in making the grapevine as fast as possible, and in preventing the wireless communication system from being flooded.

When a car sends an accident alarm message, all those within a range of between 300 and 1000 metres receive the signal, but only one of them in turn sends it on, to reach cars that are further away.

The authors said: ‘Our app allows cars to stay in constant contact with each other. They read each other. They know the direction and speed that all the other cars are travelling. And they also know their transmitting capacity.

‘All this information is updated every second or so. And the frequency is optimised so that it doesn’t slow the system down. When the signal is sent out, the car that is in the best condition knows that it has to forward the alarm signal. And so it does. This halves the propagation times.’

The technology could be integrated into the car dashboard or the sat-nav.

The latest report on the Italian system has been published in the scientific journal Computer Networks.

Full article

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