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Sunday, July 5, 2015

the transparent cars .... from Samsung

In a Ceat tyres advt, the man on two-wheeler would be confronted by so many people not following rules on road, he will have to stop sudden – aided by the good grip of tyres translating to safety …. Fed up with ‘so many idiots on road’.  The other day near EA mall, a woman was riding fast her scooty from Pycrofts– there were vehicles waiting at the signal to go straight – this woman sort took a wrong right turn, got into the streaming traffic, joined them, beating them, took another right to go straight – skill or foolish ?  …. Then at Toll Plazas and other places, where we wait, there are some who try to bulldoze their way – drive parallel and try to beat you by entering from sides !

Away from such people – on a National Highway, one could find oneself driving behind a big truck – if the road is narrow, it could be irritating – one cannot overtake due to the size and more so, because one is not sure of what lays ahead in front of the truck.  Safety is everyone’s concern.  There have to be methods and measures reducing the risk of all road users including motorists and pedestrians.  'Road sense is the offspring of courtesy and the parent of safety' -  anAustralian Traffic Rules quote reads. 

We read so many statistics and news on fatal road accidents but they remain mere news as not people follow road rules, and have concern for fellow road-users. 

Miles away, in Toronto, councillors ordered a blanket reduction in speed limits from 40 to 30 km/h on local roads in the old cities of Toronto and East York.  Huffington Post writes that while this approach may make them feel better, it won't do much to improve road safety or reduce congestion.  Some of its suggestions are :Ontario should introduce school and playground speed zone laws as other provinces have. Vehicles travelling on Ontario highways should be legally required to travel in the right lane, except when overtaking a slower vehicle or yielding to traffic entering the highway.  Zipper Feed-in Law, a simple law to keep traffic moving more fluidly and reduce driver frustration wherever two or more lanes merge into one.  Eliminate On-Street Parking on downtown streets and major arterials.Washington State and Florida are two of many jurisdictions that have adopted a 90-minute benchmark for clearing accidents on major highways.

We fervently hope that such thought-process to improve safety gets implemented here too.  Modern driver training should include the type of "cockpit resource management" training pilots receive -- how to safely manage all the devices, instruments and options available in a modern car without becoming dangerously distracted. That's the real cure for distracted driving, not simplistic and over-reaching anti-cell phone laws.

Back in 2009, Russian design house Art Lebedev introduced the dramatically titled Transparentius concept for improving road safety. It was remarkably simple: put a camera on the front of large, slow-moving trucks and connect it to video displays on the back, thereby informing trailing drivers whether it's safe to overtake the big rig. That's the exact same idea that Samsung is now pursuing with a new prototype truck. Making use of its abundance of outdoor displays, the Korean company has stitched together a video wall of four displays at the rear of the truck, which transmits video captured by a wireless camera at the front.

So for a vehicle driving behind a large truck, trying to overtake – would be in a position to see what lays ahead of the truck and decide properly.   Samsung’s safety Truck consists of a wireless camera attached to the front of the truck, which is connected to a video wall made out of four exterior monitors located on the back of the truck. The monitors give drivers behind the truck a view of what is going on ahead, even in the dark of night.This allows drivers to have a better view when deciding whether it is safe to overtake. Another advantage of the Safety Truck is that it may reduce the risk of accidents caused by sudden braking or animals crossing the road.

It is some way to go – the Samsung prototype truck built is not operational. So far Samsung has been able to confirm that the technology works and that this idea can definitely save the lives of many people.The next step is to perform the corresponding tests in order to comply with the existing national protocols and obtain the necessary permits and approvals. For this, Samsung is working together with safe driving NGOs and the government.

Samsung is hoping to implement this  new technology that will save the lives of drivers who get impatient when they are stuck behind semi-trailer trucks on single-lane highways or roads.  The cameras, wireless video and huge display screens would combine to provide a great visual display of the position ahead, which will go a long way in reducing the number of accidents in Argentina that occur on one-lane roads; that could be replicated in roads elsewhere.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2015.

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