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Using Cameras to Improve Road Safety

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Using cameras to improve safety on the road. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Some vehicles have started to use them already to help drivers see what's behind them when they're backing up. But that's just the start of what small cameras can do to improve safety. A company called Mobileye, based in Israel, is working with carmakers around the world. Chairman and Chief Scientist Amnon Shashua…says the real benefits come when the cameras that can see lane markings, other traffic and even pedestrians…are combined with video processing chips…

"If you know where they are, you can make judgements about how to assist a driver. Whether to warn the driver of an imminent collision, whether to warn the driver that he's crossing a lane without a turn signal, whether to mitigate a collision that is about to happen."

Sort of like having a co-pilot that is also watching the road. Prototypes are being tested now in Japan, Europe and the U.S. Mobileye says cameras can make adaptive cruise control systems more affordable than systems that use radar…

"With video processing you can have a system about a tenth of the price of a radar system. Which means that these kinds of systems can be installed in mass production."

Dr. Shashua believes the technology will be in wide use within five years…

"Safety is becoming a major problem with vehicles. Safety to the occupants of the vehicles, safety to pedestrians, safety in terms of collisions. And the technology is there."

Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.