We just learned about a new interesting augmented really assist system called ‘See-Through’ developed by a team from the University of Porto, in Portugal, led by Prof. Michel Ferreira. The principle that drives it relies on an a transparent LCD panel that covers the driver’s view of the windscreen and makes itself useful by playing images from a forward-facing camera mounted on the vehicle that makes overtaking perilous.
The software that runs it is set up to automatically detect when the driver’s view is impaired and to cut a hole for him or her to see through – one could say it’s a picture-in-picture effect, where the pop-up shows the live feed from the leading vehicle.
If everything works as designed, then it sounds promising, and we have no doubt it would save lives, especially in Russia…where they regularly play overtaking roulette. The problem is that it all sounds a bit too contrived to feasibly apply on a large scale – I mean sure, new trucks, buses and coaches are now equipped with cameras for other road users to hack into benevolently, but there are plenty of old ones that don’t, so it couldn’t consistently be of use.
Then, as the NewScientist source article reads, there are the technical constraints too. Currently, the image is transmitted to the in-car screen with a 200 millisecond delay. This puts any approaching vehicle 10 meters / 32 feet further back on the transparent screen than it actually is in real life, so this, along with possible transmission glitches that could crop up keep us from fully believing this is the way to go.
We hope it is developed more and perfected, because the idea is ingenious, and who knows, maybe sometime in the near future it too will become mainstream and be added to the growing list of safety features that are mandatory for achieving the highest possible star rating.
By Andrei Nedelea