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There is also the issue of competing emergencies. Let’s say a car is equipped with both a forward-collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system. What would happen when a driver changes lanes to avoid a stalled car? “In that situation, you wouldn’t want a lane-departure warning going off while you’re swerving into the other lane,” says Tim Brown, team leader of cognitive systems at the National Advanced Driving Simulator, at the University of Iowa. “So trying to figure out communication between warning systems such that certain warnings get suppressed under certain circumstances is critical to providing the driver with the information he needs to respond appropriately in a collision event.”

Brown thinks that integrating different warning systems is critical. But he points out that “military and commercial pilots are used to all these alarms going off, and because they have hours of training, they are able to respond. You can’t expect the average driver off the street to respond in the same way as a pilot.”

IBM’s Goldshmidt agrees. “We don’t want drivers to have to undergo extensive specialized training to drive a car. We think, in certain situations, we can help a driver with information and feedback.”

“But,” he adds, “there are still many things–such as analyzing complex situations with many inputs and factors–which people still do better than any kind of machine. We have no intention of taking that away from you as a driver.”

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Credit: Dana Hoffmann

Tagged: Communications, IBM, sensor, wireless, automobiles

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