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Projecting the future


Transportation engineer Hamed Ma'rof discusses his work developing a speed hump made only of light – and its potential for use in ITS applications

What gave you the idea for your projected virtual speed humps?
I have been working as a traffic safety expert for seven years and am interested in new methods and ideas that address traffic safety. One day, when looking at the shadows cast by the jalousie on the wall, the idea came to my mind – that I can use lights and shadows to make a zebra marking. I then researched projectors that can do this. I found that logo projectors have been used for marketing and advertising and so thought that they could be used for this purpose too. I called one of my friends who is a robotic engineer and he helped me work on the idea.

What are the main advantages of the projected speed humps over virtual (painted) and regular speed humps?
Regular speed humps cannot be used on highways and arterial roads where vehicles move quickly. So, typically, in these environments, the virtual speed hump has been used. This type of speed hump is implemented using traffic colors painted on the surface of the road, but these markings gets worn down over time and thus the virtual speed hump has a short life span. Their use of chemical materials can also damage the environment.

So, I thought, this could be replaced by a new type of projected optical speed hump. For this, I used four logo projectors, installed at a height 4.5m, that can project an image across the width of the road surface (16m). I then equipped this with a speed camera that measures the speed of approaching vehicles at a distance of 200m-500m from the speed hump. This then sends a signal to the logo projectors to increase the width of the virtual speed hump projection, as drivers traveling at speed need a larger image in order to be able to clearly see and understand it.

What are the ideal locations for their installation?
It cannot be used in daytime but it is ideally suited for locations where night-time accidents and speeding are problem.

Who do you see being the main customers for this technology?
I think this virtual speed hump can also be introduced as an intelligent speed hump because of its ability to adjust its projections according to approaching vehicle speed. Therefore, companies that work in the field of ITS and traffic safety will be interested in its applications. It can also provide a clear zone that can help pedestrians to be seen.

Is there any additional functionality you would like to add to this technology at a later stage?
I am currently developing the virtual speed hump so it can produce markings that are more visible, as well as 3D markings. At the moment, it can produce a 2D image on the road surface, similar to a painted virtual speed hump.

Do you have any other traffic-related ideas in the pipeline?
I have also developed an intelligent pedestrian detection system, which includes two gates, one on either side of the road, and cameras installed on each gate. These cameras are sensitive to pedestrian movement and work with four signs that have been installed to alert arriving drivers about the presence of pedestrians ahead.

Two rows of reflectors on both sides of the pedestrian crossing alert approaching drivers about pedestrians waiting to cross the road. When a pedestrian wants to cross, their presence is detected by the cameras, which send a signal to the signs and reflectors to alert drivers.

What else are you working on and developing?
I have several ideas about traffic safety but I can't predict which of them will be most effective. Firstly, I have been developing a blocker instrument that can limit people’s ability to use cell phones when driving. The blocker is installed on the steering wheel and acts at a distance of up to 0.5m from the wheel.

I have also been developing a magnetic road to help reduce the number of traffic accidents that occur. Speeding is one of the main causes of crashes, and I think a road that includes a magnetic plate installed in the road surface could be used to manage or control vehicle speeds, and to maintain a safe distance between two vehicles.

A magnetic field would be produced by the vehicle engine, with the magnetic plate in the road used to affect the vehicle's magnetic field and movement. When the driver attempted to exceed the speed limit, the strength of the vehicle's magnetic field could be increased so that its interaction with the plate in the road prevented the driver from driving too fast.

I have also been working on ‘illusion markings’ in residential zones which would suggest to the driver when the road gets narrower and therefore affect the speed at which they were travelling.

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August 3, 2017



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