According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 50% of fatal accidents occur on rural roads. Especially during the night, stop signs are difficult to be distinguished and motorists may be not brake at an intersection.
Sara Ahmed and Samer Dessouky, professors in the UTSA College of Engineering, have developed the warning system that utilizes a multi-pixel passive infrared sensor to determine whether a vehicle is near a junction. Then, if a vehicle is tracked, the stop sign lights up to warn the motorists.
“The sensor observes thermal signatures and processes them to detect passing vehicles. It distinguishes the vehicle’s direction of travel, estimates the velocity of its thermal signature and determines the classification of the vehicle,” Zachary Balcar, a master’s student in the UTSA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, stated.
The new system is more cost-efficient and accurate in comparison with similar technological approaches used in urban areas (e.g. magnetic loop inductors, video image processors and microwave radars). UTSA engineers stated that its cost is about $60-$100 when current systems may cost as much as $5000. It is capable of detecting and classifying a vehicle at a rate of 90% and 72%, respectively.
The engineering team has requested a disclosure of the invention for their proposed method which was recognized by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. Scientists state that this technology can also be implemented for border security, pedestrian detection and for vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.
The system can function in remote areas and in all weather conditions as it is self-powered by small solar panels.