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car detection sensors with aural feedback

1. smart drivers know how to anticipate what's happening with traffic based on constant observation and feel for what's going on around them at all times.

2. humans have the basic ability (and can hone this ability to a pretty high degree of accuracy) to figure out where a sound source is located based on the sound characteristic. i.e. if someone hits a baseball, i can tell where it's coming from and approximate how far away it is.

3. Certain new luxury lexus vehicles have sensors (probably infrared?) mounted on the outside of the car that can parallel park for you. You turn the thing on and do a slow drive-by of the parking spot. you control the gas, the car controls the steering.

resulting idea: mount infrared sensors all around the car that has a predefined "throw" designed to detect where cars are around you in a freeway setting (particularly the blind spots). When a car falls within the infrared field, play a sound at that has a distance/amplitude correlation in the area where the car is located. e.g. if you're in the right lane and a car is in the left lane not too far away from you, play a medium-to loud sound from the back left speaker. If the car is more like 10 feet behind you, play the sound softer.

you'd still have your rear-view mirrors to use, but this will allow for better "streaming" reference since you don't have to look at a sound to hear it. you're getting constant feedback as to what's happening around you that can fill in the gaps of what momentary sight memory and trending fails to provide.

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Oct. 16th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
Audi has actually started putting sensors all around the car, but I believe they only make a sound when you're moving slowly (ie. Parking) and I don't think they have directional sounds.

My grandmother's Mini Cooper has a HUGE blind spot where the convertible top is on the sides. BMW remedied this by putting sensors in the blind spot that chime when you have your turn signal on and there's something in your blind spot. Kinda cool, but I like your idea better.

I'd be good with that as long as you can turn it off ;). Think about sitting in LA traffic on a freeway with that thing >_>. I'd want to run the car into something very shortly after...
Oct. 16th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
The Audi A4 we are being forced to test at work has front and rear bumper sensors. For each bumper I think it's 3 or 4 sensors covering from the side of the bumper to the other side of the bumper, and each one reports distance to an obstacle which is reported graphically with blinking bars. Additionally, the sensor with the closest reading controls the aural feedback, where you get a beep that gets faster and faster the closer you get to the obstacle.

It's pretty neat. And yes, you have to toggle it on. :)
Oct. 16th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
what's the 'throw' of the sensor? As in, at what distance does the gauge kick in?

that's great for parking and all, but i'm more interested in how it would work as an accident preventer.
Oct. 17th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)
my grandma's beeper starts beeping about 6 or so feet away.
Oct. 17th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
I'm against anything that gives people the option of paying less attention.
Oct. 17th, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)
the idea isn't to give people less reason to pay attention. it's supposed to make them pay more attention. it's not meant to replace vision, but supplement and enhance it. if people treat it as such, that's their own fault, akin to the people relying upon the rear views without taking into account the blind spot.
Oct. 17th, 2007 06:44 am (UTC)
The intention is irrelevant. As long as it gives people the OPTION of being worse drivers, that's what will happen.
Oct. 17th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC)
eh. not entirely convinced of this, but there's no way to sway either way as that delves into life perspective. :)
Oct. 17th, 2007 07:44 am (UTC)
I would tend to agree, actually.

I think it's an interesting idea, one that many would use to improve their driving, but... I fear many would also rely on it more than is wise or safe.
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