Shimmer™ – Lead Vehicle Braking Alert

Leading Vehicle Braking Notification by Computer Vision

‘A system to signal hard lead-vehicle decelerations … could potentially address 56 percent … of near-crash events.’ NHTSA Report

The Problem

Shimmer is designed to be incorporated into vehicles in order to decrease the possibility of rear end accidents. A common traffic scenario involves a leading vehicle (#1), a first trailing vehicle (#2), and a second trailing vehicle (#3). The leading vehicle (#1) applies the brakes and the brake lights are activated. The first trailing vehicle (#2) has line of sight to the brake lights and hopefully applies the brakes. Second trailing vehicle (#3) has line of sight access to the brakes of that first trailing vehicle (#2). In turn, second trailing vehicle (#3) then applies its brakes. This illustrates the underlying problem of lost reaction time because the driver of second trailing vehicle (#3) doesn’t know that the driver of leading vehicle (#1) is braking and isn’t alerted upon brake application.

The Solution

Vehicle 2 has a forward facing camera 42 (preexists in some vehicle lines), CPU, and light indicator 46 (such as a mini LED array in the existing top center brake light module). Leading vehicles are monitored by the camera 42. When leading vehicle (#1) brakes, applying computer vision to the camera input the braking vehicle (#1) is detected. This triggers the light module 46 simultaneous with the braking. In summary, leading vehicle (#1) brakes, the “Shimmer” system of vehicle #2 detects it and visually signals vehicle (#3) in real time, reducing vehicle #2 risk of being rear ended.

Prior Prototype Demo