New system warns pedestrians in headphones about car approximation

The researchers have developed a security system that analyzes the ambient noise to detect moving vehicles within 60 meters radius and warns a pedestrian in their headphones about their approximation.

The new models of cars have sensors that automatically determining the threat of a collision with a person, but there has been no such means at the abstract pedestrian. Walking in the morning to work, one of the engineers of Columbia University noticed that because of his new headphones with noise reduction, he was distracted by more than usual. Talking about this colleagues from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Barnard-College, they decided to jointly develop a prototype of a pedestrian system of sound alert.

As a low-power sensor, scientists used four inexpensive microphones feeding from a lithium-ion battery, which were located inside the left headphone housing. A special integrated chip extracts only the most important sound signals from the surround noise and transmits this information to the application on the connected smartphone.

The program on the mobile device uses machine learning algorithms to determine the approach of the car. The AI system is able to distinguish between the sounds of 60 types of vehicles on the roads in various environments: a residential area, a lively center and a deserted street. However, its radius is still limited to 60 meters, which gives pedestrian about a few seconds to respond to the signal.

The technology is at an early development phase and still experiences difficulties with the definition of the trajectory of traffic movement, therefore it reacts even on cars that can not move in the direction of the pedestrian. The team is currently working on this feature by using other information. In parallel, researchers develop optimal sound signals that will allow pedestrians to clearly determine the location of the threat.

The invention will not solve all pedestrian security problems, but a warning in a few seconds can help this.

The development of unmanned transport technologies encourages researchers to work more diligently in the direction of security. For example, Rivian company

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