Tag: technology

Distracted Driving by the Numbers

Distracted driving due to technology is a real threat. As drivers we recognize the hazards yet we continue to ignore what we know.

This is distracted driving by the numbers:

  • 3,000 people die each year as a result of distractive technology.
  • 2 in 3 drivers reported talking on their cell phone while driving in the past month.
  • 1 in 3 (31.5 percent) drivers admit to typing or sending a text message or email while driving.
  • 2 in 5 (42.3 percent) drivers report reading a text message or email while driving.
  • People are more accepting of hands-free cell phone use than hand-held (63.1 percent vs. 30.8 percent).
  • Research indicates drivers using handheld and hands-free phones only see about 50 percent of all the information in their driving environment.
  • Less than half (42.4 percent) of drivers support an outright ban on using any type of cell phone (including hands-free) while driving.
  • 58 percent of drivers believe it is acceptable to use cellphones while driving
  • 60 percent of college students admit they maybe addicted to their cellphones.

The numbers clearly show distractive technology is a hazard. As drivers we know it but we don’t change our behavior. Why? As human beings we are so closely connected to cellphones that it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, not to “sneak a peek” at while driving. That is why distractions from technology while driving a vehicle must be achieved through design.  It is possible. The following are some interesting ideas for consideration:

In 2005, Patent Application US 2005/0119002 A1 discussed a system for controlling wireless communication from a moving vehicle. The patent claimed an innovation regarding a system for preventing mobile phone conversations in vehicles traveling above a pre-defined speed without cutting off communication. The patent addresses previous art recognizing patent applications from the year 2001. In 2007, the above patent application was granted, US Patent No. 7,187, 953 B2.

In 2012, US Patent No. 8,131,205 B2 (filed April 30, 2009) discussed a mobile phone detection and interruption system method for vehicles. The patent discussed a system capable of being mounted in a vehicle and blocking communications between a mobile phone and cellular network responsive to the velocity of the vehicle and/or detection of a mobile phone communication in the vehicle.

In 2013, US Patent No. 8,384,555 B2 (filed January 11, 2010) discussed method and system for automated detection of mobile phone usage. In the patent, it discusses previous art related to the system.

In 2012, an article in a technical journal discussed a system to detect and block only driver’s usage of cellphone signals, but allowing passengers in a vehicle to continue to use their cellphones. The system involved a noninvasive, small size, mobile detection system with a jammer to detect the driver’s use of mobile phone and not the phone used by fellow passengers. The blocking of the mobile communication only occurred in the driver seating area.

The above systems do not rely upon our decisions as drives on whether or not to use a cellphone app to block a signal while driving. The design eliminates the hazard without our behavior becoming a factor. These designs are one piece of the puzzle in achieving Vision Zero.

Sources:
www.distraction.gov
www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/Technology-Reduces-Cell-Phone-Distracted-Driving.aspx
www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2015_TSCI.pdf
James A. Roberts, Luc Honore Petnji Yaya and Chris Manolis, (2104). The Invisible Addiction: Cell-Phone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 3(4), p. 254-265. 
For further in-depth reading on the complexities required for everyday driving, see John Groeger, 2000, Understanding Driving, Applying Cognitive Psychology to a Complex Everyday Task. Psychology Press.
H. Abdul Shabeer, R.S.D. Wahida Banu, H. Abdul Zubar, (2012). Technology to prevent mobile phone accidents. Int. J. Enterprise Network Management, Vol. 5, No. 23, 2012.

Eliminating US Traffic Fatalities: It Is Possible

Car Technology 2What would you say if someone told you there could be zero traffic deaths each year? It might sound like a pipe dream, but it’s not. Many safety advocates are saying it is possible to eliminate most of the 30,000 plus annual highway fatalities in the US.

How is it possible? Speeding up the adoption on new safety technology. Automakers are notoriously known for taking decades to fully integrate existing safety technology into cars on a standard basis. But, if automakers were to safely speed along their adoption process for things that have been around since 2000 like forward-collision warning, rear cameras, lane-departure warning, traffic-jam assist, adaptive cruise control, and more, the aim for Vision Zero could be within reach.

Vision Zero was written into Swedish law in 1997, stating no level of traffic fatalities would be acceptable. They are demanding 100 percent safety on the road. New technology advancements like vehicle-to-vehicle communications and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications are a part of making Vision Zero a reality.

But even without those technologies that are in the works, and just with what is possible as of 2015, US traffic deaths could be cut by almost 10,000 a year, that is, if these technologies were implemented in all cars on the roadway. That’s where it gets harder. The US has nearly 260 million light vehicles on the road with an average age of 11.5 years. That’s a lot of older cars without new technology and with no financial incentives many consumers won’t or can’t invest in newer, safer technology.

It’s time for consumers, automakers, and lawmakers to step up. It’s time to stop accepting traffic fatalities as a normal. It’s time to demand the safety technology available is implemented in new vehicles. It’s time to demand affordable, safer options for America’s roadways.

Want to read more about the aim for zero roadway fatalities? Read Aiming For Zero, Automotive News for more details on this goal that could become a reality.

Cyber Threats Leave Vehicles Vulnerable

Car TechnologyWe have become reliant upon Bluetooth, WIFI, USB devices, and intelligent traffic communications within our vehicles. These features can improve fuel economy, reduce driver fatigue, and increase traffic safety, but it is all at a cost. Increased technologies can allow for dangerous breaches of security in vehicles. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and NHTSA recently published an alert regarding this automotive cybersecurity. 

Vulnerabilities may exist within wireless communication functions of a vehicle allowing an attacker to gain access to vehicle systems. In August 2015, a vehicle was studied in an unaltered condition which allowed cyber-attacks to affect engine speed, brakes, steering, door locks, turn signals, radio, and GPS. Obviously, this is disturbing to consumers who have advanced electronics in their vehicles. The bulletin by the FBI and NHTSA while providing important information, did not address why this could occur or how it would be prevented.

Software safety is not only a software issue, it is a system issue. Software related hazards must be identified, understood, and mitigated considering that software interfaces with hardware, humans, and other software. Software safety is an integral aspect of the overall system safety plan and the methodology is documented in a system safety plan process.

Software safety is not the same as software reliability or quality assurance. A pragmatic way to determine software safety is by incorporating a bilateral safety process.

First, software functional coverage is a process focusing on functional design and hazard identification. Secondly, software development coverage focuses on specific development tasks to ensure high quality software is safe. The bilateral approach is a strategy intended to cover all aspects of software that can impact safety. The approach requires a system hazard analysis to identify hardware and software causal factors, identification of software at critical levels which will impact the level of rigor tasks performed by the software development effort.

With each model year, vehicles become more integrated regarding communications. It is necessary for designers and manufacturers of intelligent transportation systems to undertake system safety planning of software to identify and eliminate said hazards to the extent reasonably possible.

Where is My Self-Driving Car?

Self Driving CarBack to the Future day has come and gone but we’re still waiting on some of the technologies we were supposed to see by now, at least according to Doc Brown. Where are our hover boards? How about those self-sizing jackets?

While neither of those are on our radars, one futuristic technology we’re seeing more of in the news lately is the autonomous, or self-driving, car. Sounds like a great idea, right? We can be like George Jetson and finally have someone do our driving for us. Less accidents and less traffic both sound like positive outcomes we might see from self-driving cars. So why aren’t they here yet?

Listen in as Kevin King, counselor from Cline, King & King, discusses just what we need to see before we see self-driving cars on a broad basis and what the timeline looks like. Talking with John Foster on WCIS 1010 AM in Columbus, IN, King reviews some subsystems we’ll see standard in today’s cars leading up to the self-driving cars including: Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warnings, Pedestrian Detection Systems, and Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication. He also discusses the need for Human Factor Analysis and requirements that we’ll see from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on these futuristic cars.

Listen to the full audio and get all of the details of King’s discussion:

What do you think? What do we need to see in self-driving cars to keep ourselves safe?

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin king? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.