A prototype vehicle capable of spotting pedestrians who stray into the road has been built by a consortium of automobile firms, including Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler, the New Scientist reports. The pedestrian-recognition technology, called Save-U system, uses an array of radar sensors, as well as visual and infrared cameras to identify a person or a cyclist, on the road. A connected computer can then identify an impending impact and either alert the driver or take its own evasive action. This might mean applying the brakes or activating external safety features, such as outer airbags.
Lucent Technologies has filed a patent application for a digital video recorder (DVR) that will detect when the user has fallen asleep ' and will then turn off the DVR. According to Lucent, the detector may comprise an electronic camera for forming images of the viewer and a pattern-recognition system connected to the camera to monitor the viewers physical condition. Alternatively, the detector may be a device wearable by the user to monitor his or her physical activity or physiological status.