App turns camera phone into crash warning system

A new app uses the camera in an Android smart phone to measure the relative speed and distance between a vehicle and those in front it, broadcasting audio and visual collision warnings whenever the risk of an impending collision is detected.

Nov 1st, 2011
iOnRoad app turns Google Android smart phone into driver crash warning system
iOnRoad app turns Google Android smart phone into driver crash warning system

A new app uses the camera in an Android smart phone to measure the relative speed and distance between a vehicle and those in front it, broadcasting audio and visual collision warnings whenever the risk of an impending collision is detected.

To use the so-called "iOnRoad" app, a user places a smart phone in a car-mount holder, so that the smart phone’s camera can "view" the road in front of the car. Calibration is unnecessary, since it is performed automatically each time a user starts driving and takes just a few seconds.

When running, the app displays an image of the vehicle in the lane ahead of the driver and marks it with a time gap in seconds that indicates how much time it would take a car -- at its current speed -- to reach the position of that vehicle.

Two crash alerts are timed to appear to encourage drivers to start braking should they get too close to the vehicle ahead. A yellow alert appears and beeps when the time gap is less than 2.5 seconds. Subsequently, if the driver has not slowed the vehicle, a red crash alert appears and sounds when the time gap drops to less than 1.5 seconds.

The app’s developers have future plans to improve the iOnRoad’s image-processing algorithm to reduce false alarms and provide better car and lane detection. They also aim to develop a version of the iOnRoad app for the Apple iPhone.

-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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