Seats to sense you in connected cars may keep you alert or send for help

sensorseatYour driver’s seat may sense that you are drowsy and falling asleep are being developed by Nottingham Trent University researchers.

Professor Tilak Dias and William Hurley of the University’s Advanced Textile Research Group with Plessey are working to integrate an Electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors directly into the fabric of car seats.

JD Power voices voice recognition problems with connected car systems

voice_control_systemCar makers are not listening to what people want in voice recognition systems reported Kristin Kolodge, JD Power’s executive director of driver interaction.

JD Power studies in the United States have shown that voice recognition is the most common type of problem voiced by car owners.

As much as one-third of infotainment system glitches were due to voice recognition, Kolodge said during a presentation at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars.

$1M Challenge for mini-inverters for cars and more

googlechalleng2With the catchy phrases “think shrink”, “smaller is bigger” and  “min it to win it”, the Little Box Challenge, sponsored by Google and IEEE will pay a one million dollars to the company or entity that builds and designs a kW-scale inverter with the highest density of at least 50 watts per cubic inch.

Inverters are the boxes that convert direct current from sources such as solar panels or batteries and turns it into alternating current for use in homes, businesses or cars.

D.C. MA & MN safest states, ND, WY & MT worst say UMT Study

National Mall Washington DCWhere are the most dangerous fatal roads in the country? Traffic safety has improved in the country for the past ten years, however, traffic fatality rates are still generally higher in the Northern Plains and southern states than in the Northeast, Midwest and West, according to University of Michigan researcher, Michael Sivak. There is no way of telling, yet how connected cars will affect the number in the next decade.

U-M Transportation Research Institute studied individual fatality rates per distance driven and per population in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2012 (the latest available year) and 2005 (a recent peak).

Traffic lights better programming and connected cars = shorter commute times and better gas mileage with V2I

trafficlightsAugust 6 is 100th anniversary of the traffic light at an intersection in Cleveland, Ohio. Today, traffic lights are controlled by sensors that include proximity sensors with some intelligent sensors using localized software. In the future, traffic lights may make driving safer, reduce commutes, save time and lower emissions.

Researchers at MIT have developed a means of computing optimal timings for city stoplights that can significantly reduce drivers’ average travel times. The software adjusts signal times at intersections distributed across the entire city, with the objective of trying to improve conditions across the entire city, while present systems are timed to local information

Virginia Tech research could prevent truck accidents like the Tracy Morgan crash in the future

tracymorganThe  type of tragic truck accident that involved Tracy Morgan and friends may be avoided in the future after research and studies by Virgina Tech.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will receive $55 million to further study safety efforts for commercial truck drivers and  automated vehicles.

The contracts are awarded from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Average age of car 11.4 years and fewer scrapped yearly

2002_honda_civic_coupe_0The combined average age of all light vehicles on the road in the U.S. stayed at at 11.4 years, as of Jan. 1 2014, reported IHS Automotive. It is the oldest cars have stayed since 1995, when the data was first reported.

In 2003, there were cell phones but no iPhones or Android phones.  The older the car, the less connected it will be.  There appears to big market for head units and other connected car features for older model cars. Most people keep their cars an average of six years.