Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Laser Bumpers

Nearly forty percent of all bus crashes are side impacts with people or cars. While not all can be prevented, the difficulty bus drivers have in seeing what’s next to them has prompted efforts to develop side-mounted sensors and driver-warning systems. One problem with these devices is false alarms-warning drivers of pedestrians safely strolling down the sidewalk, for instance. A group at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute has created a laser-and-camera system that would sense the presence of a curb, alerting the driver only to obstacles between the bus and the curb. “If you know where the curb is, you can cut down on unnecessary alarms,” says research associate Christoph Mertz. The device, funded by the Federal Transit Administration, shoots out low-power laser beams and determines the distance to an object in a beam’s path by triangulating the beam with the line of sight of a camera mounted nearby. The system worked well on a test car this spring; field tests on a Pittsburgh bus are scheduled for July.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Print Subscription.
  • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    The Download: newsletter delivered daily

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.