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Mobile Phones May Improve Road Safety

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A team of researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have been working on a project whereas rather than leading to potentially deadly distractions, a mobile phone can help road safety by advising drivers of safer speeds.

The technology behind intelligent speed adaptation systems (ISA) has been around since the 90s, mostly aimed at warning drivers who exceed the speed limit. In theory, the technology can also be used to block the functions of the mobile and even prevent use when driving, although this part of the system has seemingly not been welcomed by many, despite the obvious safety benefits.

Through this latest development of the system, the researchers in Madrid have been developing ways that the technology can identify other hazards which may need speed adjustment, such as bends, the camber of the road, the elevation etc, and even take into account the meteorological conditions, which may affect the adhesion to the road or visibility, for example, and the amount of traffic in each section. The technology can also identify the type of vehicle in which it is travelling, adjusting its reports accordingly.

The system obtains the information in real time and establishes the safest speed for the next section of the road contemplating and calculating the conditions reported, the stopping distance and the lateral acceleration of the vehicle as objective criteria. To the user, the mobile indicates the level of deceleration necessary. For the definition of the interface, the analysis of the impact on the level of attention required to receive the information of the system is carried out.

Although there are no plans to release the system any time soon, the prototype has been tested in a vehicle, with different drivers, analyzing their response to warnings and their degree of satisfaction and compliance with the limits set.

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