Smart crossing system warns drivers of phone-addicted pedestrians

By midian182 ยท 11 replies
Oct 10, 2017
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  1. So-called “sidewalk traffic lights” designed to stop mobile-using pedestrians from wandering into traffic have appeared in several locations, including Germany, Holland, and Australia. But in south London, an advanced crossing system could protect more than just smartphone addicts.

    UK technology company Umbrellium developed the “Starling (STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING) Crossing” alongside insurance firm Direct Line. It uses computer-controlled LEDs embedded in a road that are bright enough to grab the attention of pedestrians distracted by their mobile devices.

    Additionally, the system uses cameras to monitor the crossing and illuminates the LEDs based on what they see. If someone walks out unexpectedly, for example, the lights will form a “large buffer zone” around them that makes their trajectory clear to drivers.

    The Starling Crossing uses over 660 LED lights, which can change colors and patterns, while the cameras can relay information to the system in less than one-hundredth of a second.

    As well as protecting those who are glued to their smartphone screens, the crossing can alert drivers and cyclists to pedestrians who may be in their blind spots. And if a lot of people are waiting to cross the road, it can widen to accommodate everyone.

    The prototype is designed to remain slip-free even in the rain, and can support the weight of vehicles.

    "The pedestrian crossings that we use every day are about 50 or 60 years old," said Umbrellium founder Usman Haque. "We're trying to update it for the 21st century with a crossing that deals with the fact that people are on mobile phones and they might not be looking up, vehicles might be coming more often, there might be pedestrians suddenly coming out at the end of a film."

    Whether the Starling Crossing gets a wider roll-out remains to be seen. It may be an expensive system, but UK road safety charities are hoping it will arrive in more towns and cities across the country.

    Permalink to story.

  2. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +1,231

    Yes, this is the ticket! Build an expensive system like this because people are addicted to their phones. Talk about enabling bad behavior...
  3. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 456   +796

    What a stupid waste of money. Even if you did this, phoneaholics would still continue to bump into cyclists, pedestrians, mobility scooters, push chairs, etc. Since most smartphones have GPS and maps, and know when their own screen is on / touched, upon detecting that the phone is in use and approaching traffic lights at walking speed, I feel that simply locking the screen for 5 mins with a flashing "GET OFF YOUR F**KING PHONE AND LOOK WHERE YOU'RE GOING!" message would be far more effective...
    wiyosaya, Jamlad and IAMTHESTIG like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,412   +532

    I'm all for cool tech saving butts from freak accidents, but like wiyosaya said this is just enabling bad behavior.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  5. Jamlad

    Jamlad TS Addict Posts: 150   +134

    If it's criminal to stare at your phone and drive, why should it be any less criminal to stare at your phone and walk into traffic?

    I can imagine scenarios where a surprised driver swerves causing even greater damage than hitting the one distracted txter.
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,279

    A gross waste of taxpayers money. If I were to bump into some selfish, egghead of a pedestrian jaywalking, engrossed in their phone, I'd be more concerned about the damage to my vehicle than them.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +2,483

    A brilliant idea, but I think they should have included a 40-60 volt shock to give them a "slight correction"
    wiyosaya likes this.
  8. BlueDrake

    BlueDrake TS Evangelist Posts: 378   +112

    It's all good to blame potentially distracted drivers, not all drivers are the same and with more pedestrians with smartphones it's getting to be a hazard. So who would be paying the repair bills if someone on a smartphone, decided to walk right into traffic ignoring signals and a car gets hit because of a sudden stop? Drivers have to watch out for, not only themselves but other drivers around them. We can't expect everyone to be aware of some stray person oblivious to the traffic.

    I've seen these smartphone addicts walking when they had no clear right of way, a driver tries to get their attention only to be given any particular gesture by the pedestrian for being distracted from the phone. We're always going to be surrounded by those, who live in their own little bubbles and it should be known we have to work around these people. It'll always be the driver to blame if something happened, if a person simply goes out of their way to ignore any sort of traffic signs.

    I'm more and more disappointed with how people are going, as they slowly just progress backwards instead of being the supposedly intelligent beings they are. Nothing we can honestly do with them, and they wouldn't care about being alerted. If anything they should jam signals within a small radius, as a sign of "Hey stupid, look up!" only they would be upset as to why the phone isn't working instead.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  9. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,459   +509

    Why not? The walkers are not going to change
  10. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,459   +509

    I would be more concerned about the lawsuit they would bring
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,279

    This is South Africa buddy. A well placed bribe makes all sorts of legal complications suddenly disappear.
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,899   +1,273

    In Hawaii, it's now illegal to walk and read your cellphone at the same time.

    I was in Milan Italy and witnessed a pedestrian walk blindly into the path of an oncoming taxi. Stupid people will to stupid things just because they cant :sigh:

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