Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Monitoring your car for a safer driving

November 6, 2010
Each year over 40,000 people are killed on Europe’s roads, and 1.7 million injured. The partners of MEDEA+ project CARING CARS aim to drive down these chilling statistics with an innovative system comprising in-car sensors and a wireless infrastructure, capable of monitoring the vital signs of drivers and passengers and sounding an alert if there is a problem linked for example to driver’s fatigue.

Quite apart from the human costs of having an accident, the European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO), which coordinates all activities of the European Community in the field of road accident and injury data collection and analysis, estimates that road accidents are a significant indirect cost of transport, amounting to some 8% of gross domestic product.

Sensors for safety

The Dutch, Spanish and Turkish partners of MEDEA+ project CARING CARS set out to make driving safer by developing an innovative, in-car network of sensors capable of running applications that monitor a driver's vital signs and then responding accordingly. Sensors integrated within specially developed conductive textiles are located in the car steering wheel and, through contact or near-contact with the driver's hands, monitor the driver's heart rate, while wearable sensors provide a range of additional data such as alertness and emotional state. Should a driver fall asleep, a buzzer or a vibration in the steering wheel or accelerator pedal will give the alert and wake him.

The sensor network is coupled with an open-standards control and communications infrastructure which gathers data and acts as a communications gateway to external points of contact, such as the emergency services and eCall, the European automated emergency alert system for summoning help to an automobile accident.

"In the event of a crash, the CARING CARS technology, which incorporates an on-board camera, can assess the severity of the situation and the level of emergency response required," explains Keith Baker, Director of Partnerships of Philips Applied Technologies, the project's Dutch lead partner. "Data on the location and condition of the passengers can be transmitted to rescue personnel and healthcare professionals and help to identify any potential risks. When emergency teams are on site, information can be communicated to hospitals, increasing the efficiency of the response and potentially reducing the impact of injuries in the critical first hour or so after an accident.

Spin-off applications

Sensors and technologies developed by the CARING CARS project members have applications for other controllable environments such as offices, homes and hospitals. One line of research into monitoring a baby's temperature with a camera while in a car seat evolved into an application for monitoring people asleep in bed. According to Baker: "A sensor can detect an increase in temperature from the change in colour on a person's face caused by an effect on the blood vessels and aid in monitoring the sleeping patterns of people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary lung diseases (COPD), such as bronchitis or emphysema, either in hospital or their homes. COPD is a rising problem for the greying population. It's useful to be able to monitor a COPD patient's sleeping pattern to check whether it's comfortable, or whether they have a problem with an infection or the oxygen level in their blood, and wake them if necessary to use a respirator."

Keeping an eye on novice drivers

According to ERSO, 16-25 year old drivers are two to three times more likely to have an accident than more experienced drivers, while recent road casualty statistics from the UK's Department for Transport show that a third of men who are killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads are under 25. For each young driver killed, 1.3 others also die, either passengers or other road users.

Some insurance companies won't insure young drivers, while others charge prohibitively expensive premiums; according to the UK's Automobile Association, the average cost of insuring 17-22 year olds has rocketed by 51% in the last year alone. Some companies are showing an interest in the CARING CARS technology as a way of monitoring the on-road behaviour of young drivers. The system would enable them to offer younger motorists with a record of safe driving more affordable premiums or, as an ultimate sanction, withdraw cover from reckless drivers. The project's Dutch partner NXP, a leading manufacturer of semiconductors, is currently developing 4,000 modules with an insurance company for trials in Assen, which is known as 'Sensor City' for its major sensor network.

High market potential

The project partners are also collaborating individually with telecoms providers and vehicle manufacturers to develop and test specific applications. The market potential for such applications is high, and includes a wide range of commercial driving applications such as taxicabs, commercial vehicle fleets and hire cars. Spanish aerospace partner Deimos is currently developing applications for eCall in Spain, and Turkish partner Tofaş, which makes light commercial vehicles for the European market, is developing a computer module for Fiat and PSA Peugeot Citroλn.

All the services developed rely on the use of an on-board control unit and gateway capable of linking to a range of wireless networks. "We envisage vehicle manufacturers installing the on-board unit into top-end cars as standard one day," says Baker, "enabling its facilities to be marketed as a range of additional vehicle options either by the manufacturers or third party service suppliers. By 2018, all new cars could be fitted with such on-board units, offering the same potentially life-saving facilities as those demonstrated by CARING CARS."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Eureka. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Eureka. "Monitoring your car for a safer driving." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101106082635.htm>.
Eureka. (2010, November 6). Monitoring your car for a safer driving. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101106082635.htm
Eureka. "Monitoring your car for a safer driving." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101106082635.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This

More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) — A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) — Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News


      Free Subscriptions

      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile

      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?

      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins