Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Public safety

The University of Michigan Ann Arbor is taking driving to roads hitherto untraveled!  They’re testing vehicles in a ‘fake city’ constructed on their campus under the auspices of the Mobility Transformation Center, a partnership with industry and government to lay the foundations for a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated mobility.  Read the story straight from the school:

U-M’s cityscape will test driverless vehicles

UMich Mobility

Photo Credit © The Regents of the University of Michigan, Mobility Transformation Center

Called M City, the one-of-a-kind facility will include a network of roads with up to five lanes, intersections, roundabouts, roadway markings, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, bus facilities, benches, simulated buildings, streetlights, parked cars, pedestrians and obstacles like construction barriers.

 

The story is getting play from the UK tabloids as well…   The Fake City Helping Create Tomorrow’s Cars

While it might seem like an image out of a Hollywood movie clip, the advances that are made on this “stage set” are hoping to lead to the implementation of a connected and automated mobility system on the streets of southeastern Michigan by 2021.

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February 17th, 2015
5:40
 

Transportation is a tricky issue for countries around the world.  With increases in population, more and more bodies need to move from one location to another.  And ‘the need for speed’ is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind.  Combine that with critical sensitivity to ‘saving the planet’, and you’ve got a recipe for… Battery-operated trains?

This test pilot in the UK may provide some of the answers – - -

Independently Powered Electric Multiple-Unit (IPEMU)

IPEMU train

The Independently Powered Electric Multiple-Unit (IPEMU) is UK’s first modern battery-powered train. Image courtesy of Network Rail.

“The eco-friendly battery-powered train will contribute to Network Rail’s target of reducing the cost of running Britain’s railway system by 20% over the next five years.”

 

While this is just one of the projects that’s out there, your home country may be thinking along similar lines.  You can find out about others by checking out this link:  http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/region/

 

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There has been a great deal of media attention focused on gun control in the U.S.  Accidental shootings have claimed the lives of children and parents.  Gun deaths of law enforcement officials have also been making headlines every day.  Whichever side of the argument you are on for gun regulation, you know that the legal proceedings following these events are complicated and costly (not to mention heart-wrenching!)

Here’s some tech that could prove very useful in cutting through the “he said…, she said…” of witness testimony – regardless of who the victim is.  A product beginning to come to market is a chip that can be inserted into the handle of a gun to deliver data about when a firearm is outside of its holster, when it’s fired, what direction it is pointing, and where it is located.  There will be controversy about it, that’s undeniable – do YOU have an idea for a product that might be an alternative?

See both sides of the argument about who needs protecting in these two articles…

Can these gun sensors keep cops safer?

 

Gun-Sensor Technology Could Make It Easier

to Hold Cops Accountable for Shootings

 

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January 18th, 2015
12:52
 

Cutting edge technology called Lybra is a tire-like rubber paving, which is designed to convert the kinetic energy produced by vehicles into electric energy. It has been developed by an Italian start-up Underground Power, founded in February 2011.

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Developed in cooperation with the Polytechnic University of Milan, Lybra operates on the principle that a braking car dissipates kinetic energy. The edge-cutting technology, in its turn, is able to collect, convert this energy into electricity and pass it on to the electricity grid. In addition to improving road safety, the device upgrades and promotes sustainability of road traffic.

According to the team of engineers, a chain of 10 devices located at a rather busy roundabout would be able to produce 100 thousand kWh per year. Just to compare, the same quantity of energy is produced by 19 tons of oil – that’s enough to meet the annual power needs of about 40 families.

It seems that places that were traditionally thought of pollution-filled places, have sparked inventive ways to go greener.  Do you have any ideas to turn a typical pollution-ridden area into a green hero?

 

 

 

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December 31st, 2014
5:31
 

While everyone watches fireworks, shares hugs and kisses, sings boisterously, etc., etc., the messages about celebrating safely flash at us from all over – - – billboards, tv screens, loudspeakers…  heck, even tweets from Mom and Dad or good friends.  While this particular invention is not yet ready for market, it’s an unusual use of Natural Language Processing technology that has been years in the making.  And there are probably MANY other applications for this kind of speech recognition software.

Between 2007 and 2009, linguistic researchers from the Bavarian Archive for Speech Signals at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Institute of Legal Medicine in Munich in Germany have been hard at work on the Alcohol Language Corpus

Its main purpose is to keep drivers from taking the wheel of a car when they are intoxicated or impaired.  Still in testing, it will have champions and detractors; its intent is to save lives by reducing the incidence of preventable driving accidents.

Inside The First Audio Library of

Alcohol-Addled Speech

(Which Just Might Help Stop Drunk Driving)

 

So, when you hoist your champagne or beer or wine or apple cider or whatever on December 31st, think of what contributions you’ll make to bring about a Smarter Planet and a safer world in 2015 (and do get home safely!!)

With best wishes for a wonderful New Year! – Anita                    new year

 

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