Basic Auto Safety Facts
Plus the Economic Benefits of the LaneFX Blind Spot Exposure System
- According to the US government's Department of Transportation, 1 out of 25 collisions on America's highways is due to improper
lane change / lane merge. That's 630,000 accidents annually and almost 2% of which are fatal. The estimated annual insurance cost of these collisions $2.3B not accounting for economic
loss. There are no specific statistics on whether these numbers improve by use of conventional convex blind spot mirrors or
even by the driver setting the side mirrors wide.
- Second, consider the driver awareness benefit. By eliminating the average of 2 seconds of a complete head turn / blind spot check, LaneFX can afford you over 205ft of advance emergency
stopping/maneuvering distance. This could be a life-saving or accident avoidance distance.
- Thirdly, let's approach this from a competitive landscape: The blind spot detection segment has just recently begun heating
up at the OEM and teir-1supplier level. University of Michigan's Center for Automotive Research (CAR) study of emerging technologies,
automotive executives from around the world have predestined a 10% market penetration of blind spot detection systems by MY06. So far this figure has been lagging a bit, but there is evidence
of momentum building up in this area. Volvo has recently announced their blind spot detection system called BLIS and Audi has launch
its Lane Assists passive system on its brand new Q7 SUV. As matter of fact, Volvo's VP of marketing in the BLIS systems' media preview indicated that that "blind
spot problem solution is the number of asked for feature by Volvo owners." Volvo in this detection system chose to use pattern/image recognition technology as their chosen horse
for this race. Raytheon and Valeo-Sylvania, two heavy hitters in the teir-1 supplier arena have joined forces to develop a sonar-based detection system under contract with one auto OEM. In
both instances Volvo and other system are passive detection systems. Here's what's public from Volvo's own press release: "Because the system is camera based, it not work in the rain,
snow, fog, or at night." When Automotive Week and Auto Blog test
drove the BLIS system, they encountered a disproportionate number of false positives when driving by a row of parked cars or in the left-most lane on the highway against a concrete
divider wall." K. Malhas, inventor of LaneFX expressed his opinion on this design approach as follows: "It's difficult for to understand why the one automotive manufacturer
that has coined its existence on occupant safety would release a system that does not appear to have been well-though out." But it actually gets worse from there, estimated price
for the system is $1,200 that's over 800% the suggested retail price of a complete LaneFX package and, according to Volvo if the its
alert mechanism - a small orange light on the inside of the A-pillar - becomes "too annoying" to the driver, the driver has a switch to turn it off! Unbelievable!
Why turn your head away from traffic? Turn your side mirror instead!
Motor vehicles rely on two mirrors mounted on each side of the vehicle to uncover objects (including other vehicles such as passing or trailing traffic) next
to them and behind them.
These vehicle power side mirrors are based on a design that is incapable of displaying,
or “detecting”, a vehicle occupying a directly adjacent lane and approaching the reference vehicle from the rear (such as the situation of a faster vehicle passing a slower vehicle).
The overall phenomenon of a vehicle in an adjacent lane becoming invisible in a driver’s side mirror is known as the “Blind Spot”, or “Blind Zone.”
The location of a traditional Blind Spot is denoted in Figure 1 in red. The size and position of the area constituting a Blind Spot Zone in a given vehicle is based on the following factors:
- The distance of the position of the side mirror to the driver’s eyes,
- The width of the mirror surface,
- The width of the object behind the reference vehicle (in an adjacent lane),
- The driver-specified position of the blind side mirror,
- The inflection of the mirror’s reflective surface (concave / convex mirror).
The Blind Spot phenomenon is pervasive among virtually all passenger cars, light and medium trucks and vans, and all sport utility vehicles. Some medium and heavy duty vehicles,
resort to mounting multiple side view mirrors to alleviate this problem.
Introducing LaneFX - Take the Safer Alternative for a Test Drive Online
The blind spot mirrors mechanism used by motorists is an entirely manual task. As part of basic driver education, drivers are taught to check their Blind Spot Zone before executing a lane
change by turning the driver’s head by as much as 90 degrees in the direction of the desired lane check/change.
This manual technique to the persistent Blind Spot problem is inherently flawed in the following ways:
- The driver is required to direct his / here direction away from the road ahead.
The head turning task is strictly voluntary to the driver. Driver fatigue or low alertness levels can contribute to ignoring or neglecting to perform this manual check when changing lanes.
Human perception of sight ahead is based on a concept of continuity.
- Any product that eliminates or reduces FOR Adaptation Time can provide significant benefits in collision avoidance. In normal highway traffic flows, 280-1,200
milliseconds of FOR Adaptation Time translate into 124 feet of advance emergency stopping distance.
- Vehicle designs vary widely. Some vehicles have severely restricted side view through and behind the driver side B-pillar. This occurs most commonly in some sports cars
and convertibles. Similarly, tall SUVs, while having ample viewing room up to the B-pillar on the driver side, have impeded blind spot mirrors to their relatively large dimensions, including
height. In essence, any B-pillar or height design issues inherently limit the side and rearward view through the driver’s side window. This consequently further limits the reliability
and efficiency of conventional Blind Spot checking mechanism in preventing avoidable lane change collisions.
The Blind Spot problem is quite pervasive with growing demand from consumers, OEMs and Tier 1 Supplier community.
The advanced Blind Spot Detection solutions market is now emerging with industry indications of considerable upside, starting with MY06 and MY07 vehicle
At Drivaware, we have dedicated considerable product development resources to create, develop and production-ready three innovative Blind Spot Detection systems. While other companies are
focused on producing car gadget, we are focused on the efficiency
of the system in terms of driver awareness. Two of these solutions are entirely original innovations, never seen before in the automotive marketplace. More broadly however, each Drivaware
Blind Spot Detection solution has a compelling first-to-market advantage in its respective technology.
What You Can't See in Your Mirrors Can Hurt You
The blue car's driver sees the green car through his mirrors but cannot see the red car without turning to check his blind spot. Blind spots, in the context of driving an automobile, are
the areas of the road that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors. Blind spots can be eliminated by overlapping side and rear-view blind
spot mirrors, or checked by turning one's head briefly, or by adding another convex
blind spot mirror with a larger field of view. Detection of vehicles or other objects in blind spots may also be aided by systems such as video cameras
or distance sensors, though these are not common in automobiles sold to the general public.
Are All Blind Spot Mirrors the Same?
The areas most commonly referred to as blind spots are the rear quarter blind spots, areas towards the rear of the vehicle on both sides. Vehicles in the adjacent lanes of the road may fall
into these blind spots, and a driver may be unable to see them using only the car's mirrors. Other areas that are sometimes called blind spots are those that are too low to see behind and
in front of a vehicle. Also, in cases where side vision is hindered, areas to the left or right can become blind spots as well.
Beware of Setting Your Mirrors "Wide"
Mirror alignment is often done incorrectly by drivers. There is a tendency to want to provide context for the side mirror view by having the rear of the driver's own vehicle in the mirror
frame. When improperly aligned the side view blind spot mirrors widen the perspective offered by rear view mirror, but still not providing full coverage of the blind spot areas around SUV's,
light trucks, minivans and even commercial vans.
Even with a head-turn, the driver should continue to look forward, in the direction the car is traveling. This is accomplished by using the correct blind spot mirrors or blind
spot detection system. Exaggerated head-turns, where the driver actually faces backward for a moment to check the blind spot mirrors, are dangerous because the vehicle
in front may come to a sudden stop just at that instant resulting in a rear-end collision.
Make Safer Lane Changes Part of Your Daily Drive
10 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Auto Collision
- Get a good start at intersections. This helps cut commute times for the individual as well as for countless others. Make it through one extra light and that’s an average of two minutes
that is’t wasted sitting in traffic.
- Don’t stop prematurely at yellow lights. Not only is it often highly dangerous (if the driver behind is’t paying attention), it also wastes time, money and gas and promotes
traffic congestion, stress and frustration.
- Utilize turns efficiently, especially right turns. How drivers perform turns determines how much time is wasted, and congestion is created for what can be hundreds, even thousands of drivers.
- At least match speeds on on-ramps and utilize the full length of the on-ramp. Merging early and failing to get up to speed on on-ramps often creates tremendous congestion, wastes time and
gas and can be extremely dangerous.
- Let faster drivers by without slowing. This eliminates stress and they’ll likely eliminate large amounts of congestion farther ahead for you, thus saving you valuable time.
- Safely pass slower vehicles. Failing to swiftly and safely pass by slower vehicles — especially large vehicles such as motor homes and 18-wheelers — is the No. 1 cause of traffic
- Look ahead. Read traffic flow properly so that acceleration, deceleration and lane changes can be properly timed. The less often drivers have to slow down, the more fuel, time and money
is saved and less traffic congestion is created.
- Change lanes properly. This will help prevent slowing, preferably without losing speed and without causing others to slow down.
- Utilize right and left turn combinations rather than sitting at red lights. Not only is gas, time and money being saved, there is less congestion at that light.