Under most circumstances, it is a bad idea for pedestrians to wear headphones or use similar devices while walking. Listening to music or a podcast is distracting and may result in the user getting hit by a motor vehicle due to lack of awareness or inability to hear. However, there are new Artificial Intelligence (AI) headphones that may soon prove commercially available that act as a warning system when it comes to the presence of vehicles.
Such headphones are needed, as the number of pedestrians injured in collisions with cars reached an all-time high in 2018. Some of those injuries are attributable to the increasing use of smartphones, which do not allow users to hear approaching motor vehicles.
Pedestrian Audio Wearable System
The Pedestrian Audio Wearable System (PAWS) is the prototype for AI headphones and the early warning system for wearers. Currently, PAWS can only detect the location of a nearby vehicle. It cannot yet determine its trajectory. It cannot determine the locations of multiple cars, which is still a serious systemic flaw.
The idea behind PAWS came to a Columbia University assistant professor of electrical engineering when he was walking to work and noted that his noise-cancelling headphones were a distraction. He and his colleagues, including those working at Bard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, decided to work on the PAWS prototype.
Newer vehicles come equipped with collision warning systems, which lets them know about objects in the road, including pedestrians. However, the researchers soon determined that the radar or cameras used for cars was not suitable for a wearable device. Instead, they focused on developing a sensor that did not require a great deal of power and was operable using standard batteries for six hours or more. They decided to go with inexpensive microphone systems, which included low power sensors.
According to an article published in the IEEE Internet of Things Journal, the low-cost, headset-based PAWS wearable platform combines four MEMS microphones, signal processing, and feature extraction electronics. It also contains machine learning classifiers on smartphones, which can locate and detect imminent dangers. These include approaching motor vehicles, and PAWS warns wearers that they are in danger in real time.
Right now, PAWS can only warn a user that a vehicle is less than 200 feet away, and it does not signal how fast the car is approaching. The device is not yet useful for practical purposes, since it cannot track the vehicle’s trajectory. How the wearer will receive notification is also a work in progress. Researchers are considering the use of a beep on one side of the headphones, or 3D warning signals that give the wearer a better sense of space.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Pedestrians Injured by Negligent Drivers
If you or a loved one was injured as a pedestrian by a negligent driver, contact the Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Our experienced lawyers will fight for the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Call us today at 302-888-1221 or fill out our online form to arrange a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, Middletown, and Newark.