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Using drones to increase car safety

Image credit: Jere Barcebal - Unsplash

Darjan Hren
Darjan Hren Apr 06, 2021
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I've thought of pairing a small drone that has cameras and some lights (red, green) and would be integrated into the roof of a car.

Current cars have sensors and cameras on them but a drone could be used to extend those sensors and vision to places where that isn't possible.

Some use cases I thought about:
  • Looking around corners There are many dangerous spots where mirrors need to be used but still, if the other can doesn't have lights on or that mirror is broken it could be dangerous. In these situations, the done would fly off and the camera + AI would look if it's safe (it would look in different directions at the same time). If it is safe, it would turn it's red light into green for the driver to see. You could see what the drone sees inside the car on a screen as well. After the car drives off, the drone would land into the dock on the roof and recharge as needed.
  • Easier/safer parking As the screens don't have any depth, the car parking cameras are a pain to use as you don't see or feel the depth and distane from the cameras. A drone could fly up and you could see a birds view of your position and the distance to other objects. The drone could have set spots you could navigate with a tap to make it fly to those spots and show you eveythting you want (side view for narrow garages, front view,...)
  • It could take videos/pictures for you It could fly around your trip and take some photos/videos making a great memory. This would also make the trip safer as the driver wouldn't need to take them (yes people take photos while driving).
Creative contributions

Drones for emergency vehicles

Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia Apr 14, 2021
I think a good applciation of drones for car safety would be to incorporate drone systems into emergency vehicles. As an example I think of an ambulance that could send a drone further to recognize which roads are more busy, to give the alarm sound so that cars clear the way faster for the ambulance, and even to give a first visual of the emergency situation before the ambulance even gets there. Additionally, ambulance drones have already been used to quickly deliver automated defibrillators to an emergency scene so that care can be applied to the patient before the ambulance arrives. That would be possible also for epinefrine pens or other drugs that need to be administered quickly in life or death situations.

A similar thing could happen with fire trucks. Having a drone which leaves the truck and goes ahead to assess the situation before they get there could save some very valuable time and even give information from a different point of view, helping the fireman response. If this were combined with a drone strong enough to rescue people from tall buildings, that would be amazing.

In the case of police drones are and will continue to be used for surveilance, but specialized drones for catching subjects (maybe with a taser or a net incorporated to them) could be interesting. I've seen racing drones perform incredible acrobatics so it shouldn't be difficult to outrun and reduce a suspect on the run using one of those.
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Other purposes rather than safety

Povilas S
Povilas S Apr 06, 2021
Check this out. In this case, they are used for lighting the way. I think drones would be best suitable for additional features, e.g. giving additional light for off-road driving like in that video or going in front of the car and investigating further areas in places with no road or filming/photographing, like you suggest here.

For the safety of regular driving mirrors and cameras seem to be enough. Even fully autonomous driving can be achieved using only cameras. Too much visual input (seeing a car and its surroundings from many angles, etc.) might be confusing for the driver. Parking sensors have sound alarms and visual clues to mark safe and dangerous distances, so visual depth is not necessary. Another thing is that having drones flying around each car would be complicated and dangerous in itself, they would crash into each other, disturb pedestrians, etc. I think in a not-so-distant future we might begin talking about "drone pollution" because they are used more and more extensively for nearly every purpose.
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia3 years ago
I definitely agree with Povilas S in this. The overuse of drones like that could be a real complication in a short time, accidents due to overcrowded spaces could definitely occur. However, I think there is some merit to the original idea for filming/photographing and especially lighting. What worries me, though, is whether this drone would be completely autonomous, because avoiding driver distraction should be number one priority. An automatic driving drone would significantly increase the costs, but could be an add-on for some cars if used for the right things.
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The use of stationary cameras for public places to avoid drone congestion

Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Aug 26, 2021
Since the aim here is to improve the safety of the car by using the surveillance of the drones. In public areas and other areas where a lot of other people are interested. Cameras and microphones can be placed at strategic points so that cars can access their feeds through wifi when the cars are close to those points. That way there will be no congestion of drones in a place where cars that have drones are congested.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Great point. Also, the cost of one drone can pay for multiple cameras, so your solution is not only more efficient but more economically feasible.
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General comments

Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
It could be a problem if every car had its own drone in the air at the same time. The drones would need to watch out for collisions in dense air traffic
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