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'smart' Cars Steer Towards Safety

By Western News

April 28, 2010

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University of Western Ontario (UWO) researchers are developing smart cars that can see the conditions around them, assess the appropriateness of a driver's response, and take action if needed.

UWO's Road Lab advanced driving assistance system places four cameras across the front windshield to capture images of what the car sees from the hood to 180 meters ahead, in addition to rear and side cameras, which provide a 360-degree view. The system also includes two cameras facing the driver with an infrared light that reads the driver's eye movements. Data from the car's diagnostic system, cameras, and a global positioning system is fed to a computer in the back seat, which determines how the driver should react in a situation, says UWO professor Steven Beauchemin.

Beauchemin says the researchers are focused on developing a better understanding of driver behavior and creating computer response models. "The research question is this: Can we develop cognitive models of driver behavior that are accurate enough or that work sufficiently well enough so that we can compare that with actual driver behavior and attempt to correct it?" Beauchemin says.

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