Arkamys Debuts Smart Blind Spot Alarm at CES
Use your car's speakers to check those blind spots
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What I wouldn't give for eyes in the back of my head.
I say this, because I'm an ex-commercial driver. And whether you drive a coupe or a box truck, chances are good you'll have at least two blind spots at all times. Though this can be safely managed by checking mirrors, every so often an accident occurs because someone was unable to see an obstacle or another driver in their field of view.
That's where Arkamys' 3D-ADAS Proximity Alarm system comes in. Using a series of sensors mounted at different points on the vehicle, the system will alert drivers not only that they're in danger of a collision, but also where the other driver is. It does this by using the car's existing sound system.
For example: say you're cruising down the freeway and someone is coming up in the lane beside you. The system will play a series of beeps in the speaker closest to the hazard. With that audio cue, you know there's a danger you can't see, where it's coming from, and how fast it's closing in.
Audio signals already clue you in as you driver—you react pretty quickly when you hear someone flooring it behind you—so it's a natural conclusion that an even louder sound will catch your attention better than a small blip on your windshield.
There's solid evidence in favor of such a system. In fact, a relatively recent government publication concluded that auditory cues—exactly like those offered by Arkamys' product—are the best way to alert a driver to danger.
"When assessing the reaction time of releasing the throttle, motorcoach drivers were able to shorten their reaction time by 46 percent compared to drivers that were not presented with an [imminent collision warning] alert." — National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Sept. 2015
That's very good: an imminent collision warning improves reaction time by almost half. While it doesn't mean you're invincible on the road, this kind of system increases your ability to make an informed split-second decision.
This system isn't available yet for consumers, but Arkamys has recently partnered with auto company Renault for its spatial audio products. We'll be keeping this tech on our radar.