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Solar Panel Integrated Stop Sign Alerts Rural Drivers

Solar Panel Integrated Stop Sign Alerts Rural Drivers

The tests conducted to examine efficiency of the system showed 90% vehicle-detection accuracy rate

Research team led by professors Sara Ahmed and Samer Dessouky, from The University of Texas at San Antonio developed novel system that is powered by solar panel, which allows it to operate completely off the grid.  According to the Federal Highway Administration, around 54% of all US traffic fatalities occur on rural roads. Majority of those accidents are caused by drivers, who do not pay attention to road sign while driving. New technology developed by researchers is expected to assist in reduce road accident fatalities by illuminating flashing lights on those signs in response to approaching vehicles.

The system works based on the function of sensors. When vehicle approaches a stop sign that’s been equipped with the technology, a multi-pixel passive infrared sensor detects the trajectory and velocity of that vehicle’s thermal signature. The sensor can also ascertain the type of vehicle. Based on that data, a red light above the sign starts flashing to alert the driver – it does so soon enough to give them time to safely stop, based on their current velocity.

In tests conducted so far, the system has demonstrated a vehicle-detection accuracy rate of 90 percent, which is actually better than that of existing car-detection technologies such as magnetic loop inductors, video image processors, and microwave radar. Furthermore, the U Texas setup requires less power and should be cost-effective to manufacture – whereas conventional safety systems reportedly cost up to US$ 5,000 a pop, the new one could sell for as little as US$ 60 to US$ 100 per unit.

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