Patent Watch; July 2011; Scientific American Magazine; by Adam Piore; 1 Page(s)
Device for avoiding a collision in a lane-change maneuver of a vehicle: It’s not quite KITT, the artificially intelligent Trans Am that starred alongside David Hasselhoff in the 1980s television show Knight Rider, but a newly patented computerized driving system takes a step toward the car as driving companion. Not only will it upbraid you when you are about to make a boneheaded lane change, it will actually take control of the steering wheel and prevent a collision.
The device, patent No. 7,893,89, was developed by a team of engineers at Germany’s Continental Corporation. It relies on cameras embedded in a car’s side mirrors. The cameras stream video to a computer, perhaps located behind the dashboard, equipped with object-recognition software that scans every 66 milliseconds for the shapes of approaching vehicles. Once it identifies a vehicle, the system tracks the approaching car’s changing geometric relation to other visual cues on the horizon to determine its approach speed and distance.