What do next generation safety features mean for the average driver?

Features like innovative sensors, wireless vehicle communication, driver assist, and active safety control systems mean that when you’re driving on a snow-covered road, your vehicle is anticipating what’s ahead and taking steps to avoid an accident before you can spot the upcoming danger. These features will result in reduced collisions, lower repair costs, and lives saved.

Waterloo researchers are helping manufacturers stay at the forefront of technologies that share information between vehicles, roadside infrastructure, and smart phones. Advances in connectivity between vehicles will allow intelligent vehicles equipped with specialized sensors to share safety-critical information such as slippery roads, as well as alerting emergency service providers and road authorities.

“These innovations in intelligent transportation help keep drivers safe and traffic flowing smoothly,” says Bruce Hellinga, professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Associate professor Duane Cronin is working on a different automotive safety challenge: preventing injury. He’s developed computer-generated human body models including the world’s most detailed model of the human neck and spine. Using this model, researchers can predict where an injury, such as whiplash, occurs and modify the design of headrests, seats, airbags, and vehicle structure to prevent it.

WatCAR researchers are considering auto worker safety as well. Professor Jack Callaghan, Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention, and his team conduct ergonomic research on automotive assembly line processes. The expected outcome is improved assembly line designs, leading to reduced repetitive strain injuries of the lower ack, shoulders, and wrists.

Clearly, Waterloo is making the world a safer place to live, work, and drive.

(Updated May 2013)

Watch Amir's Khajepour's Research Matters video about intelligent transportation on youtube.