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‘Black box’ for cars

Lily B. Libo-on / 20 November 2012

A device that will record the movement, speed and location of the car a minute before accidents happen will help reduce accidents and lower the number of injuries and deaths once it reaches the market next year.

The device, which is in its production stage, is a project initiated by three students, Yousuf Mohammed Hasan from Bangladesh, Abdulwahhab Alqurssi, an Emirati and Ahmed Mohammed Amer from Palestine. They are senior students of the Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Sharjah,

The Sharjah Police under the leadership of Commander-in-chief Humaid Al Hadidi said the project will be beneficial to motorists and their families once it is mass produced. It has turned over a cheque of Dh8,000 for the development cost of this project through Prof Samy Mahmoud, Chancellor, University of Sharjah. This funding is in addition to the technical assistance from the Sharjah Police by making available its traffic officers and technicians to assist the team.

Abdulwahhab Alqurssi , Ahmed Mohammed Amer and Yousuf Mohammed Hasan at the university lab. — KT photo by M Sajjad

Dr Qassim M H Nasir, associate professor, who is supervising the course called Senior Design Project, through which this project is being done, told Khaleej Times that the number of injuries and deaths, and the cases of accidents will be dramatically reduced by this device.

Explaining the project, Yousuf said accidents are rising every year, and it takes time to notify the police of their location, which causes more tragic deaths from road mishaps. “This project will save the movement of the car one minute or 60 seconds just before the accident happens. It records the speed, location, movement and everything about the accident. Before the accident happens, it warns the driver if he is over speeding. And when the accident occurs, it immediately sends an SMS to the police and to the persons to be notified so the ambulance can be sent at once to save the victims.”

Performing the function similar to the ‘black box’ of the aircraft, this device dubbed as Car Accident Location Notification System (CALNS) will keep parents abreast of whether their wards are over speeding, where they are and when they opt to configurate the speed of their ward’s car.

Abdulwahhab, who initiated to collect statistics from the police, has convinced the police of the usefulness of the device to road safety. “He has led his group to a presentation to the police, which convinced them that it is a good project that needs to be financially and technically supported.”

A survey was conducted, the result of which showed that 75 per cent of the 500 people questioned online and given questionnaires, had signified their intention to purchase the device once it is in the market.

By May 2013, the university chancellor will check on the device and a live demonstration will be done using small cars. However, Dr Qassim said the police will also provide old cars for actual live demonstration for police evaluation of the project. “There will be a chance to shift from virtual to something real. I am proud of my students because I know the success of this project will enable them to find the right job easily,” he said.

Ahmed said the project is very challenging as it will also detect the impact on the car involved in the accident. “It will first detect the damages. It will also give the driver the interval of time when high speeding is detected to get the option of slowing down,” he said.

Dr. Qassim explained that the device will determine whether the car is really involved in an accident. “It determines the impact through the sensors fitted to it. These sensors in the system will collect the data and decide whether there is an accident after which the device sends SMS to the preset contacts, which include the persons to be notified in case of accidents and the police.”

Through a combination of accident sensors connected to a microcontroller-based system, the device will transmit the location using GPS of the accident through SMS to a set of predefined contacts. “The device is capable of tracking down accidents and speed violation and alerts the authorised people such as car owners, police and ambulance only if a major accident happens,” Dr Qassim said.

To perform these tasks, the device has sensors, micro-controller, GPS/GSM, modern and applied software.

The device will immediately report the accident location by SMS through GPS to the contact set, report speed violation and analyse the accident by archiving the lost minute/s car location of the accidents, including the car path before the accident.


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