INDIA’S Anna University of Technology is developing a system capable of blocking a driver’s cell phone signal while allowing passengers to use their phones. What’s more, it calls the cops if the driver attempts to use their phone!If ever there was evidence that Big Brother was watching you, then this is it. The Cell Phone Accident Preventer (CAP) is being developed by Anna University scientists H Abdul Shabeer, RSD Wahidabnu and H Abdul Zubarto as their response to a report claiming that up to 20% of fatal accidents involving trucks and heavy commercial vehicles are linked to drivers using their cell phones.
The CAP system uses something called radio-frequency identification technology (RFID), which utilises a low-powered signal jammer situated near the driver’s seat. This forms a cage of electronic interference in the centre of which sits the driver. It does beg the question “what if the driver leans over to the passenger side of the vehicle to beat the system?’, but that’s not where the CAPs trickery ends…
In addition to the jammer, CAP also features a module capable of detecting a driver trying to use their cell phone, which triggers a transmitter that notifies the police of the driver’s indiscretion. Obviously, this requires a road block to be in place in order to capture offenders, but it could potentially deter drivers from braying into their hand-held phones while driving.
The technology is still in a phase of relative infancy, but the chaps at Anna University claim that its being developed in such a manner as to be “low cost” – partly to make it accessible to a wider audience and partly to lure in commercial fleet managers, who could potentially further offset its cost with savings on insurance premiums for vehicles fitted with the CAP.
Yes, it does reek of a Big Brother/nanny state but given the potentially disastrous consequences of trying to balance your co-ordination between piloting a vehicle and operating a hand-held cell phone, it could be a lifesaver.