Motor vehicle "accidents" are the leading cause
of "death by injury" in the world today and are recognized as a major
and growing global health burden.
to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, in 2002 nearly 1.2
million people died in road crashes worldwide and between 20 and 50
million were injured.
In 2004, more than 40,600 people were killed in traffic accidents in the United States alone.
So when new technology is developed that promises to lower traffic death rates, it attracts serious attention.
A computer chip and a tiny camera not much bigger than a dime
installed on the windshield behind your car's rear-view mirror may now
make the difference between life and death.
The Netherlands-based Mobileye Vision Technologies
has developed an inexpensive hi-tech driver assistance system called
Mobileye AWS (advance warning system), which can provide drivers with
early warnings of potential road hazards.
Founded by an Israeli, with its R&D based in Israel, the
company says the system has the potential to lower accident rates and
teach people how to be "smarter" drivers.
images generated from a front-facing camera are analyzed by the
system's computer chip, which has been "taught" to recognize potential
hazards such as cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians, and
uses audio warnings to aid the driver in recognizing and maintaining
safe distances from these threats.
The chip, roughly the size of a Zippo lighter, has the
processing capability of two Pentium computers but comes at a much
The aftermarket product line works day, night and in inclement
weather, and features Forward Collision Warning that prevents collision
with vehicles ahead by alerting drivers to both moving and stationary
vehicles while filtering out cars in adjacent lanes that pose no
Alerts are provided up to 2.7 seconds before collision - enough time to safely stop and avoid an accident.
It also features Headway Monitoring and Warning, providing
distance indication to drivers and Lane Departure Warning that alerts
drivers when they inadvertently drift from their lane due to drowsiness
or other factors.
Other technologies in different stages of development include
lane change assist that monitors the speed and distance of overtaking
vehicles and tells you when it is safe to switch lanes, and pedestrian
protection that identifies people in the vehicle's path as well as
those on the sidewalk who may enter the roadway.
For example, the system detects the distance to the vehicle
immediately ahead - generally targeted as posing the primary threat. As
the driver nears the vehicle in front of him, an image on the display
panel changes progressively from green to orange to red.
Upon advancing beyond a minimal safe following distance, the
driver will hear an audio warning announcing that he or she must reduce
speed and fall back. The audio caution will cease the moment the driver
steps on the brakes.
Though there is a small display panel mounted on the vehicle's
dashboard, most of the warnings are audible and the driver need not
remove his or her eyes from the road in order to make use of the
"Studies by auto makers, government and non-government
organizations have shown that giving sufficient warning can prevent up
to 80 percent of all traffic accidents," Iftah Amit, VP for Sales and
Aftermarket Products for Mobileye Vision Technologies told The Media
"Mobileye is the only technology developer that provides the
broadest range of accident prevention alerts in a single system," he