South Korea radar and thermal camera system warns ‘smartphone zombies’ of traffic


  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 19 Mar 2019

ILSAN, South Korea: A city in South Korea, which has the world's highest smartphone penetration rate, has installed flickering lights and laser beams at a road crossing to warn "smartphone zombies" to look up and drivers to slow down, in the hope of preventing accidents.

The designers of the system were prompted by growing worry that more pedestrians glued to their phones will become casualties in a country that already has some of the highest road fatality and injury rates among developed countries.

State-run Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) believes its system of flickering lights at zebra crossings can warn both pedestrians and drivers.

In addition to red, yellow and blue LED lights on the pavement, "smombies" – smartphone zombies – will be warned by laser beam projected from power poles and an alert sent to the phones by an app that they are about to step into traffic.

"Increasing number of smombie accidents have occurred in pedestrian crossings, so these zombie lights are essential to prevent these pedestrian accidents," said KICT senior researcher Kim Jong-hoon.

The multi-dimensional warning system is operated by radar sensors and thermal cameras and comes with a price tag of 15 million won (RM54,066) per crossing.

Drivers are alerted by the flashing lights, which have shown to be effective 83.4% of the time in the institute's tests involving about 1,000 vehicles.

In 2017, more than 1,600 pedestrians were killed in auto related accidents, which is about 40% of total traffic fatalities, according to data from the Traffic Accident Analysis System.

South Korea has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate, according to Pew Research Center, with about 94% of adults owning the devices in 2017, compared with 77% in the United States and 59% in Japan.

For now, the smombie warning system is installed only in Ilsan, a suburban city about 30 km northwest of the capital, Seoul, but is expected to go nationwide, according to the institute.

Kim Dan-hee, a 23-year-old resident of Ilsan, welcomed the system, saying she was often too engrossed in her phone to remember to look at traffic.

"This flickering light makes me feel safe as it makes me look around again, and I hope that we can have more of these in town,” she said. – Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Tech News

CIMB says instant funds transfers on banking website temporarily disabled
Facebook investors, shrugging off election woes, look for 'social commerce' payday
Wall Street expects near-record iPhone sales despite delay, shut Apple stores
AT&T is sued for $1.35 billion over technology to synchronize smart devices
Honor launches View40 smartphone in China, plus a refreshed laptop lineup
Post of topless photo of Kellyanne Conway’s daughter prompts probe
Amazon set to launch in Poland, shares in local Allegro fall
YouTube suspends Trump indefinitely, stops Giuliani monetising clips
All-rounder 5G smartphone: sexy outlook with unrivalled photography and videography experience
TikTok’s owner doubles sales to US$35bil despite US ban

Stories You'll Enjoy


-->