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Digital Cameras Help Alert Sleepy Drivers

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the let-the-car-do-the-driving dept.

Toys 308

An anonymous reader writes "An interesting story on how digital cameras are being mounted in cars to watch the eye movements of drivers to make sure that they are awake. The cars include two cameras, one watching the road and one watching the driver. If there is something on the road that is a danger and the driver doesn't see, the car alerts the driver. Pretty neat technology."

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308 comments

hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10583854)

hi

Re:hi (1)

Ramsey-07 (737166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583868)

Damn my phone, Smarter than eye...

Hmm (0, Offtopic)

Ramsey-07 (737166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583855)

Woot, I seen it first!!

heat waves? (4, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583861)

Do cameras see heat waves?
Will the camera wig out and think I'm driving into a huge puddle of water?

Re:heat waves? (3, Insightful)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583880)

I would imiagine it would be a false positive. Which is much better than a false negative, false postive makes you a little annoyed for a short while. False negative sends you out of controll into a ditch, your decision.

Re:heat waves? (2, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584004)

This still cannot be a "certified" application and I guess the future lies between:
  • automatic pilot (there are some ongoing studies concerning self-assembling car-trains in France and maybe elsewhere, for what I know)
  • the train pilot system which consist of a sensor that has to be manually activated every few seconds otherwise the train artificial brain concludes the driver is not available and stops.

Re:heat waves? (2, Insightful)

MikeDX (560598) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584114)

I would imiagine it would be a false positive. Which is much better than a false negative, false postive makes you a little annoyed for a short while.

Yes but too many false positives will cause you to ignore it or find a way to disable it entirely.

Cool intermediate technology (5, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583863)

Obviously, the final application of this kind of technology is to allow the car to take primary control of the vehicle and let the passengers relax in peace.

We already have navigation systems that are accurate to within half a meter in many cities worldwide. We also have collision detection algorithms (aka hashing functions) that can help avoid crashing into other cars. We now can mount cameras onto vehicles to provide visual sensory input.

All we really need is an IR sensory input for fog driving.

In cities, this kind of "decide the destination" driving without the hassle of actually driving the vehicle would be really useful, I think.

Re:Cool intermediate technology (5, Funny)

Goosey (654680) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583889)

In cities, this kind of "decide the destination" driving without the hassle of actually driving the vehicle would be really useful, I think.

Great idea! We could call it Taxi!

Re:Cool intermediate technology (2, Insightful)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583925)

There are already vehicles that allow the passengers to relax in peace. They are called trains!

The problem with this technology in cars is that it assumes that cars are the only vehicles on the road. What about the pedal and motorcyclists for example?

Re:Cool intermediate technology (1)

4cop2c (811629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584222)

motorcycle and pedal sounds really hard to fall asleep

Re:Cool intermediate technology (4, Insightful)

xtrvd (762313) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583932)

As much as I would like to believe that there are people striving to make automatic automotive technology available tomorrow, I have a sneaking suspicion that some people [yahoo.com] out there who make a living off of a class 4 license will argue that this cannot and will never replace a human.

Re:Cool intermediate technology (5, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583949)

"All we really need is an IR sensory input for fog driving."

Just stick on an IR camera and cars will be able to drive themselves? Nope, we're decades away from fully automated vehicles. Real roads are far far more complex than the test roads which they have been run on so far.

http://robotics.eecs.berkeley.edu/~janka/PATH/st er eo_drive.html

If you want fully automated vehicles right now, a segregated guideway is required, AKA Personal Rapid Transit.

http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/

Hash collisions or car collisions? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584014)

An automotive collision has nothing whatsoever to do with a hash collision, though they share the same name. So far as I know, vehicle navigation codes use hashing no more than any other type of codes. Why does the parent bring hashing into this?

Re:Cool intermediate technology (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584067)

The problem with navigation systems that are accurate to within half a meter is that the accuracy can be downgraded without warning at the whim of the US govt. I don't want cars all over the world to suddenly become rogue because Dr Strangelove has had a bad morning

Re:Cool intermediate technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584118)

I too look forward to the day when humans are taken out of the decision making process in steering vehicles.

I don't fancy anyone's chances of successfully bringing an automotive autopilot to market that is capable of knowingly breaking a speed limit. Also, making stupid overtaking manoeuvres would be out of the question.
Two major causes of death and destruction on the road - gone.

I don't think that this is going to happen any time in the near future, though.

Like the parent says, it is an intermediate step.

Re:Cool intermediate technology (3, Interesting)

Dave_M_26 (773236) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584260)

knowingly breaking a speed limit

major cause[s] of death and destruction on the road

Whilst I agree that some breaking of the speed limit is obviously dangerous (e.g. going >60mph in a 30 zone) I disagree that a strict adherence to the speed limit is necessarily good or safe.

For instance, going 40 (in a 30 limit) on a clear straight road, on a bright Sunday afternoon is probably going to be safer than doing 30 on a rainy Monday morning, down a winding road in front of a school, despite the fact that the speed limit is nominally the same.

I would be wary of any system which was incabable of taking these varying factors into account (not, in theory, difficult - weather sensors, tyre grip sensors, visibilty distance monitors, pedestrian detectors etc).

Dave

Privacy concerns (4, Insightful)

Goosey (654680) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583866)

I can see the obvious saftey benefit from this, but perhaps the possible privacy conerns should be considered.

Suppose this follows a logical step and they add a link to a centralized server that monitored traffic volume to help the results be more accurate.

Suppose insurance companies were able to gain access to data this could produce, and started factoring your on-road alertness into their rate

Yano on second thought, that doesn't sound that bad at all.

Re:Privacy concerns (3, Funny)

tedu (647286) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583884)

good. :) my rates will go down because i won't have to subsidize all you bumblenuts who can't pay attention.

Re:Privacy concerns (5, Insightful)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584028)

Suppose insurance companies were able to gain access to data this could produce, and started factoring your on-road alertness into their rate

And why shouldn't they? If you drive half-asleep/drunk/retarded, your rates *should* go up, and insurance companies should be able to access any relevant info about your driving habits in order to determine your rates.

It's getting to the point where simply being inconspicuous with deviant/dangerous behavior is no longer sufficient to avoid the consequences, and I say good. I think that if you drive drunk, or speed, or drive erratically, you should get a ticket regardless of whether or not a cop happens to be present at the time. And yes, I'm talking about equipping cars with devices that can detect such crimes. Too many people confuse this with an issue of privacy or civil rights, but I don't believe it to be. Such a thing would merely serve to lift the veil of obscurity that many people tend to hide behind as they threaten the lives of those around them.

Re:Privacy concerns (2, Informative)

Artega VH (739847) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584191)

The problem with automatically issuing fines for speeding is this:

Say you're on a two lane road (that is one lane in each direction) which allows overtaking. You're stuck behind someone going lower than the speed limit. You go to over take them (assume its a truck going up a hill) and the cars are backed up behind you.. What happens is car behind you moves into your space and you're stuck ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. In this situation the safest thing to do is to 'feed it the fat' (jump on the gas for american readers) to lower the time spent in the danger zone..

You shouldn't get fined for this because you were driving safely..

Re:Privacy concerns (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584220)

Say you're on a two lane road (that is one lane in each direction) which allows overtaking.

All that would be needed to overcome that particular scenario would be an allowance for short bursts above the speed limit. Also, lanes that allow passing are generally only placed in areas where you have a clear view of the road ahead.

Re:Privacy concerns (3, Informative)

ambrosen (176977) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584231)

Well, driving safely except for the fact that you were overtaking where there wasn't enough room.

Re:Privacy concerns (1)

R1ch4rd (710276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584254)

And so, a nice, friendly and safe human ANT COLONY is born.
PERSONAL RESPONSABILITY is required for any free society to work. Forcing everyone to follow 'the rules' only leads to dictatorship and that, in my opinion, never justifies the benefits.
A balance between individual freedom and society oversight must be kept.

Richard

Re:Privacy concerns (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584257)

Insurance companies should most certainly NOT be able to access that kind of info. It starts with this, but it is an EXTREMELY slippery slope once they smell money to be made.

I mean, why stop with just how tired you might be (do you have any idea how many drivers are half asleep in the morning on the way to work?) why not also check to see if you've had alchohol or smoked weed within the past 24 hours, because you know, that might be an indicator of irresponsible behavior which in turn makes you a more dangerous driver!

Re:Privacy concerns (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584259)

"And yes, I'm talking about equipping cars with devices that can detect such crimes."

Go on then, what devices are these?

No Phoning Home (1)

BrianMarshall (704425) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583871)

It's like the Google disk search business... as long as the thing isn't phoning home...

Digital camera kept me awake! (4, Interesting)

eingram (633624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583881)

I used to drive a lot for long hours during the night. I would catch myself dozing off quite a bit..

I'd then break out my digital camera and take pictures of the road, myself, buildings, etc. I'd also set it on my dashboard and do a long exposure image to catch the headlights of cars and city lights (for a cool streaking effect). I had a lot of fun and it kept me awake.

Was it dangerous? Nah. I can operate my camera without looking at it really, so I was able to keep my eyes on the road (and keep them open).

Re:Digital camera kept me awake! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584286)

a little off topic but not really

Alerts you to dangerous things on the road? (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583891)

If there is something on the road that is a danger and the driver doesn't see, the car alerts the driver.

Now, if only they can devise a way to keep 85 year olds who think that it's their god given right to drive until the day they die, from slamming on the gas and destroying buildings and killing pedestrians because they thought it was the break pedal - or driving into THROUGH AN AIRPORT because they thought you return your car at the Hertz inside the airport.

Pedal error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10583936)

Sir,

You need to read and inform yourself better [kuro5hin.org] .

Re:Pedal error (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584017)

*snicker*. I need to read K5 to become better informed? That's like reading Slashdot to improve your social life.

Perhaps YOU need to read and inform yourself a little better [nwsource.com] .

Drivers, 75 years old and more, are more dangerous than every other group except teenagers (who also shouldn't be allowed to drive so young). They are 400% to 600% more deadly than every other age group.

I guess you'd rather let a group of innocent toddlers and young children playing on a soccer field be killed by an elderly driver who went up a curb, through a field and plowed into them be killed than dare take a license away from from those holiest of holy "The Greatest Generation".

Re:Pedal error (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584133)

I don't know what to think about the fact that the page has a SUV ad...

Re:Alerts you to dangerous things on the road? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10583941)

Been there, been hit. Dude so old he just flew through a red light "didnt see the intersection!" he said.... smashed my VW rabbit into the next life. Then he left! Had a meeting to go to, left a card. I called it hit and run until the cops caught up with him.

Re:Alerts you to dangerous things on the road? (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584039)

In 1997, I was walking across a three lane street. Midle of the crosswalk and there is only one car on the road. It's across the intersection, on the other side, far enough away to stop. So I continue walking. Not thinking anything unusual.

But the guy doesn't stop! He drives through the crosswalk, through the intersection and smashes right through me! I fly up unto the hood of his car and he keeps driving. I roll up onto his windshield and the impact is so hard that the force of me landing crushes his windshield and roof. It takes almost two full blocks before he stops. He doesn't even consider putting on the break for the first block. He hit me with full driving force. Fortunatelly, I somehow made it without any serious injuries although I still suffer sore joints and muscle problems almost a decade later (at times). But at least I didn't break any bones or lose conciousness.

After he finally realized that he had hit something, slammed on the breaks and stopped - I went flying through the air and landed hard on the aslphalt about 50 feet down the road from his car. He had hit me so hard that his car had to be towed and totaled.

He didn't really have any excuse other than he just didn't see me. In the road. In the crosswalk. On an empty street.

Re:Alerts you to dangerous things on the road? (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584122)

Ditto. Young female driver ~20; I was on a pedal bike. Middle of a bright day.

Got any refs for your Hertz rental return anecdote above? No obvious google queries pick it up. Sounds like a fun tale.

FP.

Re:Alerts you to dangerous things on the road? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584178)

In Dec 24 2003, I was walking across a two lane street. Middle of the crosswalk and there is a long file of cars coming from the right. Noone from the left (here we drive on the right of the road). The first one (a small car) is more than far enough away to stop, considering its speed. So I continue walking. Not thinking anything unusual.

But the driver (girl barely above 18) doesn't stop! She doesn't speed down let alone break and smashes right through me. I lose conciousness. According to the state of her car, I roll up into her windshield and the impact is so hard that the force of me landing crushes her windshield. Many people in the closer building heard the crash but didn't hear any braking. I regain conciousness on the aslphalt about 60 feet down the road from the point of impact. Unfortunately I haven't recovered yet from 2 broken legs, they still hurt (especially one of them) when I walk and I cannot run yet.

I haven't seen her since the accident, but according to my lawyer, she didn't really have any excuse other that she had a "blind spot" (??) and therefore didn't see me. On a straight road paved with crosswalks (there is one about every 50m in this area).

Have you sued for damages ? Has the driver got his license suspended or cancelled ? If so, for how long ?

Hmmmmmmmmmm (3, Funny)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583893)

What if the driver's wearing sunglasses? Ha!

Re:Hmmmmmmmmmm (1, Funny)

pronobozo (794672) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583918)

a robotic arm comes out and takes them off you... and then lightly slaps you.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmmm (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583988)

This is what I thought while watching "Minority Report".
Remember when he walks into Gap and gets scanned automatically? It was retarded... sunglasses rejecting the lasers would be invented within months of some invasive technology like that.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmmm (1)

supergiovane (606385) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584248)

Talking about Minority Report, it's absurd that Precrime didn't revoke his biometric key right after his escape, and didn't setup the system to issue an alert if he tried to get back into the facility.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmmm (1, Funny)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584262)

So you think that in the future of Minority Report, HR departments are reasonable, well-organized, and responsive? It's sci-fi, man, not fantasy.

Re:Hmmmmmmmmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584190)

That's a good point, because sometimes it's good to wear shades while driving when it's bright out.

Wonder how it determines what is a danger (3, Interesting)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583894)

I wonder how this determines what is a danger and whats not, does it detect any sudden change in the road such that a pothole or cones on the side would set it off or is it more specific in that only if you go off the road it works?

but the terrorists! (2, Funny)

sometwo (53041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583896)

They'll use the video feed to figure out when you're in the car, and then *bang*.

Good idea, but... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10583897)

Digital cameras to combat sleepy drivers. Nothing like a flash in the middle of the night to blind you to oncoming traffic.

Glasses? (2, Insightful)

craigtay (638170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583899)

Will sun glasses make the whole thing break? Maybe even the glare from my regular glasses during a sunset, or sunrise could throw the whole thing off!

Better or Worse? (5, Interesting)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583905)

I can't remember the exact figures but I heard that in the UK either "1 in 6" fatal accidents may be caused by falling asleep at the wheel. Certainly they've been advertising the dangers of driving while tired as much now as anti-drink-driving.

Now I can see it could save a life if a so called "micro sleep" occured at the wheel but could it have the opposite effect? Would some people then try to drive longer thinking they have a safety net/alarm clock to wake them up if they drift off?

Re:Better or Worse? (5, Informative)

tristan-jt2 (820528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584025)

I remember seeing a documentary on TV a few years ago, can't remember if it was in the UK or in France.

They had taken a dozen of drivers fitting a particular set of criteria. They had to be used to driving at night, and drive a certain mileage every week.

They rigged them up with monitoring equipment, set a couple of night vision cameras in the car and sent them on their way.

They had to drive a distance that was estimated to take about 4h.

Once at the destination a team of boffins would ask them to fill in a questionaire about how they felt about the drive, whether they felt tired, etc.

The results were simply scary:
None of them had bothered to take a break.
None of them declared having felt tired enough to feel they had to take a break.
Yet their brain activity was showing numerous periods that looked like deep sleep for less than 5 seconds.
On average these periods amounted to a whooping 6 minutes over the 4h of driving.
On the videos you could just see the drivers blinking for a unusually long time.

Having a system that detects that I'm blinking in a suspicious way, gets the driver seat to vibrate, and then sound an alarm if I don't open my eyes immediately would certainly not annoy me. I'd take the hint that I need to take the next exit and try to grab 1/2h of sleep.

My sister fell asleep at the wheel once while on the motorway and told us that she had only blinked, only to open her eyes after feeling what she described as a bump.
She took the next exit because she was feeling seriously tired and slightly puzzled about the "bump". Turned out she had hit the safety rail after drifting all the way over the fast lane.

Re:Better or Worse? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584146)

I've been alongside 2 cars where the tailing one 'bumped' the front one due to the driver fading.

However, I think that the approach taken by these innovations is wrong, they should do what NASA do.

What happens when they detect a space shuttle has lost control? They blow the fucker up, and all on board, so that it can't crash into the ground and cause untold more damage. That's what they should do with dozing drivers. Guaranteed no repeat offenders!

Re:Better or Worse? (1)

tristan-jt2 (820528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584164)

Great concept: Technology Assisted Darwinism :-)

Re:Better or Worse? (1)

Hobadee (787558) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584026)

Sorry, this is the U.S. Here we are dumbasses and think it's OK to drink and drive. Thus being tired isn't as huge of a cause as being dead drunk. (No pun intended) We first need to solve the basic problems. Sadly, MAD magazine had this idea 50~ years ago. Attach a breath detector to the ignition system. I think they are just starting to do this for some people with too many DUI's.

Re:Better or Worse? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584124)

"Would some people then try to drive longer thinking they have a safety net/alarm clock to wake them up if they drift off?"

Next year's Darwin Awards should be exciting!

Re:Better or Worse? (3, Interesting)

343 Guilty Spark (810884) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584215)

As far as the opposite effect, this is a know phenoma in driver safety;

It is called risk compensation or behavioural adaptation, if you look at things like accident rates before and after seat belts have been made complusory you find that while fatalities for those in cars decrease it is not at the level predicted by statistics, and fatalities for pedestrians and cyclists acutally increase..

Basically people feel safer so they drive faster/aren't as careful.

The interesting thing is that the effect is strongest for safety changes that make the chance of an accident lower (e.g. ABS breaking) and weakest for things that just reduce the cost of an accident (e.g. Airbags).

I my own research I have found that even in simulator studies that risk compensation appears to happen as far as road width goes (i.e. if roads are widened people drive faster, if they are narrowed they drive slower).

Complacency (5, Interesting)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583911)

I do not mind having some driver alert system, but if it goes off too many times, too many false positives, then drivers may ignore it, yet at the same time, the very fact that it is there might make them more willing to distract thier attention from the road.

So it gives you a false sense of security, but like all computer equiptment, you ignore it the seconed it gets too annoying.

How many times has a car alarm gone off, and you rush outside to apprehend the thieves?

This sounds too much like a tax funded project gone awry. Perhaps the car might have a failsafe mode if the triggers go too far? if the person doesn't hit an ok button in enough time, the car should slow calmly and require some special intervention to make sure the user is aware.

Now any action on the part of a computer that would remove the human from the loop is not desirable, as this would mean a car might slow in the middle of a 5 lane intersection, or something stupid.

But if humans take themselves out of the loop through complacency, then that is worse.

The camel sticks his nose under the tent... (2)

xmark (177899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583912)

How long before those cams are connected to some flash ram in the black box that's already installed in new cars, "strictly to assist safety research"? How long before someone (or some insurance company) sues to recover those images, to be used against the driver in a civil suit? How long before some lame-o legislature grants law enforcement a "right" to those images, probably citing a desire to "protect the children"? How long, in short, before the government has a digital videocam watching your every move while you drive your car? Think they'll only be interested in accident-related activities? I don't.

Be afraid. The future is now, and it does not like you or your silly privacy rights.

Re:The camel sticks his nose under the tent... (1)

wk633 (442820) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583953)

This will only work until some idiot falls asleep anyway, and doesn't wake up, kills somone, and sues because the system promised him it would keep him awake.

It's dangerous to sell Americans things to protect themselves, that require even a modicom of common sense.

This is great and all.. (5, Insightful)

kagaku (774787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583920)

..but shouldn't it be the drivers responsibility to stay awake while driving? If you're tired enough that you need a camera to watch your eye movement to make sure you aren't falling asleep, should you really be driving?

Hmm (1)

Escherial (806342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583922)

Huh, I wonder if it has a snooze button. There's nothing more irritating than being awakened in the middle of a restful nap behind the wheel.

Repeat with me (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10583927)

Social problems require social solutions, not technological band-aids. The reason we have so many sleepy drivers in the first place is a combination of bad urban planning that results in millions of people taking extra-long commutes, one person to a car, and erosion of labor rights that makes it possible for employers to overwork their employees and tire them.

This and the road sign reader (1)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583928)

this and the road sign reader [slashdot.org] seem to use similar technology, or are they actually the same thing, just different application?

It wont work! (5, Interesting)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583938)

There's this psychological effect called risk compensation. It's been shown that the safe people believe they are the less careful they will be. So if you have mechanisms in your car to stop you from being stupid you'll actually be even more stupid that you would normally be and so the whole thing balances out.

Here in the UK Volvo drivers have a bad name with motorcyclists. Why? Because they are very safe cars and so many Volvo drivers take less care than someone in a less safe car. But cars aren't the only thing on the road and it's all well and good you being safe in your car if you're involved in an accident but what about the other poor sod!

Actually the best thing to make everyone drive safely and wear seat belts and the like is to put a spike in the centre of the steering wheel!

Count yourself as lucky. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10583967)

Here in the UK Volvo drivers have a bad name with motorcyclists. Why? Because they are very safe cars and so many Volvo drivers take less care than someone in a less safe car.

In the USA, the "safe" drivers are in SUVs.

Be scared.

Re:It wont work! (3, Interesting)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584022)

I totally agree. The trick would be to make people safer while making them believe they're in mortal danger. It's a game of visualising risks. Since they can see they're going to be two minutes late for that important meeting but can't see the broken down truck over the next hill or see themselves as pieces of decaying flesh at the roadside, they put the pedal to the metal.

And this is why bikers in general (there are sadly a LOT of exceptions to this rule) are not as prone to accidents as people in general (the non-biking public, as it were) might imagine. We're too close to the road to not notice it rushing by at break-neck speeds. I believe it's best said in Zodiac [wikipedia.org] where a bicyclist, all dressed up in black, is asked why he doesn't have any lights or flourescent clothing and he responds with "For that to work, I'd have to assume every motorist around me is wide awake, sober and not trying to kill me. That's stupid. I pretend there's a million dollar bounty on my head and everyone's trying to hit me. It's my responsibility to make sure they don't." and there's a certain amount of truth in it. That and the spike works for me. :-)

Re:It wont work! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584060)

So... can I not shake a stick at all the pictures at once, or do I have to do each one individually? Also, I don't have a stick at the moment, will an empty mt dew can work?

Good advice (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584155)

For that to work, I'd have to assume every motorist around me is wide awake, sober and not trying to kill me. That's stupid. I pretend there's a million dollar bounty on my head and everyone's trying to hit me. It's my responsibility to make sure they don't.

I think that's good advice, not just for bikers. I drive my car like that too. You have to be looking everywhere as who can say where danger will come from?

I've avoided five certain rear-end collisions alone over the span of my driving just from assuming every single person on the road behind me intends to hit me.

Vacation (1)

BrianGa (536442) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583945)

Is anyone else reminded of National Lampoon's Vacation with Chevy Chase, where the kids and wife are shown peacefully sleeping...and then the camera pans to Chevy Chase - also peacefully sleeping (and driving).

Chase then proceeds to plow through anything and everything, finally landing in a parking space for a hotel. "We're here!"

Citroën already does that (sort of) (4, Interesting)

MartijnL (785261) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583950)

The new Citroën C5 (http://www.citroen.co.uk/) has a lane departure warning system that detects if the car is leaving it's lane (like if when the driver has nodded off and there is a bend in the road). It only warns when the driver crosses the white line however so collision detection is still a way to go.

Re:Citroën already does that (sort of) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584129)

US roadways have had such a warning system for years. They put bumpy ridges on the edges of the road, so if you start to veer off, your whole car vibrates and jolts you awake.

Re:Citroën already does that (sort of) (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584246)

Isn't C5 rather a dumb thing to call a car you actually want to sell?

Feels Too Safe (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583959)

Yet another technology that makes you feel nothing can happen to you. Just as airbags increased avarage speed, this "enhencement" will make many people think they can drive almost asleep. Hey, who cares, camera will wake me up anyway. And if doesn't? Nevermind, I have 4 airbags!

Bad move (3, Insightful)

Underholdning (758194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583961)

Pretty neat technology
What? This is not neat. This is a step backwards. If drivers gets accustomed that their car will alert them if they're about to hit something, it will probably encourage them to contiue that extra hour of unsafe driving.

Re:Bad move (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584138)

Agreed. There are gimicks out there, gadgets and such.

For example, I have a whistler 1753C radar detector. It has a function of "testing alerness"...doesn't really work though because you have to engage it to "test yourself".

It does sometimes jolt me back to reality though, if my mind was off dreaming of something else while i'm behind the wheel. Thats its only saving grace.

and yes, I know its not going to save me from a ticket, so I drive reasonably. Its just that I like to know when I'm under survalence (or find a supermarket when i'm hungry)

I need more sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10583962)

When I first read the article, I thought it was about drivers to keep a digital camera from going into sleep mode, but then I reread it and well BAM, there we go..

Nothing a little fourth grade toybox can't solve.. (1)

heldlikesound (132717) | more than 9 years ago | (#10583999)

I'd just wear those glasses with the bulging eyeballs on the front. Just try to stop me from sleeping while I'm driving!

What next!?!?!? No sleeping in class?!?!? How far can this narcophobia extend!

let's see here (1)

AssProphet (757870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584008)

digital cameras are being -blink- mounted in cars to watch the eye movements of -blink- drivers to make sure that they are -blink- awake.

Must. Stay. Awake. -blink- Slashdot so addicting -blink- I'll be fine tomorrow....

Customization? (1)

Bam359 (796809) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584011)

Can I get the car to say "Danger Will Robinson, Danger" when Joe Jaywalker croses the street, and I am not paying attention? Or will it just beep at me like my alarm clock, that I have gotten so used to that I don't even wake up the first 3 times I hit the snooze button?

Re:Customization? (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584255)

Can I get the car to say "Danger Will Robinson, Danger" when Joe Jaywalker croses the street

No, but I think some of the newer SUV's come equipped with an optional "cattle guard" (previously only found on the front of locomotives). Why even stop? It's not like you'll get hurt.

Bad (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584016)

It will encourage complacency. I bet it'll cause more accident because people will just drop the need to remain fully alert and will just think they can rely on the camera to alarm them of any problems.

French car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584019)

There is a French car (Citroen C5) equiped with a _real_ (not a hack) system to alert the driver when he is changing lane without indicating. Seems to be pretty efficient. As far as I remember, it's the first time a French car is actually innovating in a while! Oh well...

--
kTag

Re:French car (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584048)

Unfortunately, being a French car, it constantly yields to every other car on the road at every intersection, even when it doesn't need to.

Re:French car (1)

dajak (662256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584187)

Do you ever drive in France? French cars don't yield. French traffic is one of the passive defense systems that defends France from foreign invasion.

I would expect the American cars to:
- yield to every other car,
- take turns very slowly,
- brake for anything,
- have no option to set the traffic jurisdiction it is driving in (instead it will complain that the traffic signs and other traffic are stupid),
- stop at the edge of European inner cities and insist that there is no road there, and
- be unable to recognize an empty parking spot if it cannot hold at least three cars.

Re:French cars *are* innovative (4, Informative)

Arminator (138868) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584137)

French cars *are* among the most innovative cars.
Especcially Citroen seems to be at it. They used Headlights that shine into curves depending on how far you turn the steering wheel already in the 60s or 70s.
They were the first to use a very soft suspension (advertised with a car bumping over a freshly plowed field with raw eggs on the backseat. The eggs remained intact).
They built a hygropneumatic suspension that automatically stiffens the suspension. For example you drive a car speedily over a long hump, and the inertia lifts the car upwards, while the road begins to go down again. Now imagine a curve right after that. With a soft suspension the car will swing around with a lot of load-cycle changes, while the hygropneumatic suspension stiffens and keeps the car steady.
This in turn is an evolution of their suspension that adjusts the height of the car's rear so that you can easily load the trunk in a lowered car, and when startinging, it lifts the back up again compensating the load in the trunk.
Furthermore a lot of automobile companies (Opel, Volkswagen among them) used Peugeots Diesel-motor technology, since it is among the best engineered Dieselmotors.
And a few years back Peugeot made the HDI Diesel engine, that produced very high exhaust heat, so the carbon particles get burned, eliminating the black smoke from Diesel engines.

So, when do you think did the French cars stop being innovative?

P.S. I'm *not* French or something like that...

In other news... (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584034)

"A German company called Bosch." WTF?

In other news, an automobile manufacturer called "Chrysler."

Damn these new fangled companies popping up everywhere, why in MY day...oh never mind.

False positives make this system useless (1)

MoobY (207480) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584042)

If the camera sees something the driver doesn't, probably a beep or something will go off in the car. And as we all know, those cameras won't be 100% full proof, making unnecessary, false positive beeps all the time, irritating the driver who turns off the system after using it for 2 days or so. I'm not going to buy this as I think the immense flood of false positives will make this system very useless.

Seriously.. (1)

bmantz65 (642864) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584058)

How many bells and whistles do we need in a car to tell you, "Hey, you should be doing this! Not that!"? Lane change warnings, backup cameras and noises (understandable on trailers or Betty Homemaker's H2)and now this. IMO, I think having all these noises happening would cause you to maybe overreact to the situation and create something worse. For example, you're just falling asleep or in a light sleep and *BLAR BLAR* you're alarm goes off, causing your head to jolt upright causing you to strain your neck. Next, your arm flies out uncontrollably to turn off the alarm, but you hit it and it flies off and hits your hand on the way down. All this while *BLAR BLAR* is still going on. Now imagine if you're driving.

Alternative (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584066)

I suppose those devices from "Clockwork Orange" should work better. Dang, how is a digicam supposed to image anything when you are sitting in the dark?

Car will be able to detected impaired drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584081)

How easy would it be to program something like this to read your eyes for glassy, redness, dilation and not let you start the ignition based on its determination of impairment.

That's great and all... (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584103)

but what about those sensors they have on the stair machines? Why not place those types of sensores onto the steering wheel to measure your phsyiological state. When your heart rate drops a bit, or sudden changes in your breathing occur it could make a sound or something. It'd have to be worked out to not respond when you have a 'near miss' and your body goes into over drive, but I think it'd be much more effective.

God damn this is old news. (2, Insightful)

jolajolajola (783045) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584110)

This popped up a year ago [g4techtv.com] . When will Slashdot actually accept news that is up and current, rather than accepting old posts?

nanobot spys (1)

connor_macleod (113687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584113)

Keep wary about these things - they'll all employ nanotechnology to broadcast your image & location to big brother ;)

I guess I'm pretty sleepy... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584143)

I thought the title said something about "sleazy drivers". Time for bed.

Another safety feature - all nice and well, but... (5, Insightful)

EkkiEkkiShiwaddle (823778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584144)

Allthough I'm all in favour of stashing each and every car out there with as much devices to increase safety, each time I read an article like this I still have my doubts.

The problem with all these safety features is that people feel too safe in their cars.

Going to fast? My wonderfull ABS system will bring me to a halt no matter what. Accelerating beyond my limits? Why, ASC will keep me on track. DSC will keep me on the road in those nasty corners. The new Citroen C5 has that nifty lane departure alert system, so why would I even keep my hands on the wheel, my car'll tell me when I'm flying off the road just in time!

Ok, ok, maybe I'm exagerating things a bit here, but you wouldn't believe the number of people that actually believe this stuff (or at least appear to be driving as if they believe it).

IMHO, the driver is and should always be responsible for his/her car, not some autopilot. People should be made aware of the risks of ignoring these systems more, than they should be made aware of situations they should've seen for themselves.

Know the limits of yourself. Know the limits of your car. If you go beyond either of those, no system out there now nor in future will keep you on the road.

Stuff like this scares the crap out of bikers (3, Insightful)

peterpi (585134) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584149)

Sure, this may be "Pretty neat technology", but not driving when you're tired is pretty neat too.

The amount of technology designed to let the car driver fall asleep is terrifying to those who actually have something to loose from an accident.

Hard times for men (4, Funny)

kickdown (824054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584163)

Damn, you wont ever convince a girl to do a blowjob in your car when she sees a camera.

Re:Hard times for men (1)

EkkiEkkiShiwaddle (823778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584171)

Most chicks are freaky enough nowadays not to be scared away by a camera anymore. It's the 'I love Slashdot' sticker on your car that drives 'em away!

Re:Hard times for men (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584269)

But a car is supposed to drive people away..?

Do they just concentrate on that ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10584176)

Or will they do the work they are told to nicely ? :-)

Other applications. (3, Funny)

XpirateX (691224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584177)

I could see this useful if it was a portable device...maybe for my business classes? One camera focused on my instructor, one on my eyes. If he looks at me when I'm alseep, alert me to pay attention (until the next time he looks away).

check head tilt (2, Interesting)

ufnoise (732845) | more than 9 years ago | (#10584182)

If you are concerned about people falling asleep, it might be easier/cheaper to attach a sensor to detect when the driver's head tilts forward. If the driver is otherwise easily distracted, perhaps he/she shouldn't be allowed to drive at all.
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