Collision warning system gets closer to production

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A collision warning system, based on vision, for drivers that can be mounted on the dashboard or windscreen could soon be a reality if Dorset-based Innovative Vehicle Solutions (IVSL) can raise the £100,000 investment needed to take its proven prototype to the next stage.

IVSL managing director, George Ferrie, said: ‘We are trying to raise the £100,000 via CrowdCube, an on-line funding platform which allows the investment sum to be built from multiple investors, both large and small in return for equity. In this way, everyday investors can pledge from as little as £10 towards helping businesses to raise the finance they need to grow. In order to benefit from this scheme, however, we need to reach our target by Tuesday 15 May, so we would urge any potential investors to register with CrowdCube and take a look at our proposals.’

‘The idea for The Distancer came about after my wife witnessed a fatal road accident involving two young drivers. A staggering 405,000 rear-end bumps account for one in four of all road accidents in the UK each year. We wanted to come up with a system that was effective, affordable and reliable and that could be fitted by any driver, in the same way as they might fit a Sat-Nav system. Our prototype is powered via the vehicle cigarette lighter socket and has been successfully trialled in a variety of driving conditions, including sun, cloud, very heavy rain and spray, and at night.’

The Distancer system features a small camera which tracks and locks onto the number plates of vehicles ahead. Since the number plate's numbers and letters are all defined sizes, measuring the height of the characters allows the system to calculate how far away the vehicle is. By feeding in the current speed, The Distancer can then give the driver real-time warnings if his or her vehicle is too close to the vehicle in front or if the distance between them suddenly begins to close.

IVSL has worked closely with Dr John Haddon of Panther Vision on this project. Dr Haddon, an expert in vision technology, said: ‘We have made use of camera technology that has been used extensively in industrial applications and adapted it for commercial use. The package can also record the images, thus providing automatic video evidence in case of an accident. We are also developing a smart phone vehicle collision-warning app alongside our primary device. Our primary product will be a retrofit system, available for the commercial, business and private motoring markets.’

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