Lane-keeping app makes any car smarter

You don't have to be rich to get the latest and best in advanced in-car gadgetry. A smartphone app gives any old rust bucket two key safety features you would normally expect to see only in luxury vehicles: a lane-departure warning and driver-fatigue alerts.

In cars like Toyota's high-end Lexus range, lane-departure systems use cameras and radar to warn drivers when they drift out of a traffic lane. Cameras trained on the driver's eyes can sense the kind of blinking that indicates you are drowsy, telling you to take a break.

Andrew Campbell and colleagues at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire have packed similar capabilities into an Android app called CarSafe. With a Google Galaxy Nexus phone mounted on the windscreen, the front camera points at the driver, tracking head pose, gaze direction and blink rate. If the driver seems drowsy, a coffee cup appears on the screen and the phone bleeps.

The back-facing camera is trained on the road and the app checks you are at a safe distance from the car in front and also checks you are not weaving outside the white lines of the traffic lane.

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Source: The New Scientist

Researchers:

Andrew Campbell, Dartmouth College

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Media Contact: Paul Marks