Now, car doors that get jammed when near danger

April 4th, 2009 - 12:50 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 4 (ANI): Considering that the opening of car doors into the path of oncoming vehicles has been a major cause of road accidents, scientists have now developed a new technology to avoid such mishaps-doors that sense potential impacts and get jammed.

Named the “haptic”-the technology provides tactile feedback to the users, and can thus help reduce both road injuries and repair bills

Invented by Michael Graf at BMW and Michael Strolz’s team at the Technical University of Munich, the current prototype looks like a normal car door.

However, there’s an extra metal bar that runs through the door’s centre, and connects it to the car’s frame between the hinges.

When in normal mode, the bar moves freely and doesn’t affect the door’s movement.

But if the sensors happen to detect a nearby obstacle while an accelerometer detects an attempt to open the door, a linear motor attached to the bar restricts the door’s swing, making it impossible to open it fully.

For user-convenience, the amount of door resistance is in proportion to the proximity of an object, which means that one may swing a door halfway open without problems before it gets stiffer as it nears a lamppost.

Strolz has revealed that the current prototype uses ultrasonic sensors to spot dangers, but because of their limited field of view, the next version will use cameras that can span 180 degrees.

“Then we will be able to sense the complete workspace of the door and detect people walking by the car or cycling towards it,” New Scientist quoted him as saying.

Strolz also said that the technology was mature enough that a car factory could be pumping it out in cars within a year. (ANI)

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