Poland is pioneering new road signs that combine an array of sensors to monitor road traffic and conditions to warn drivers of hazards on the road ahead. Researchers are building'intelligent' motorway signs to track traffic volume and alert drivers in real time to potential dangers as part of a national project called INZNAK. The signs also measure weather conditions and use several forms of radar, including acoustic vector sensors (AVS), traditionally used for underwater applications. AVS reads reflected sound waves and calculates traffic on a particular stretch of motorway, which can then be relayed to drivers to warn of congestion. The Doppler Effect is a well-understood physical phenomenon which is also seen in astrophysics as the universe expands and creates'redshifting', but is more commonly seen in sirens.
New rules to let self-driving cars break the speed limit or mount kerbs to avoid accidents are being drawn up in a'digital Highway Code'. And in a radical legal move, it could be the car maker punished if a driverless car speeds without justification or causes a fatal accident. One key question in an official review launched yesterday is whether automated vehicles should, like human drivers, be allowed to break the rules for a greater good. Should they be programmed to mount the kerb to avoid a child in the road, let an ambulance go past, or if two cars are stuck in a narrow street? New rules to let self-driving cars break the speed limit or mount kerbs to avoid accidents are being drawn up in a'digital Highway Code'.
Highly automated "Level 4" self-driving vehicles should be held responsible for following traffic rules and be operable without the need for a human with a driving license, according to recommendations from a report by a National Police Agency (NPA) expert panel dated April 1. The panel's report on traffic rules for transportation services in limited areas such as on buses and electric-powered carts with level 4 autonomous driving technology recommends that while conventional laws require drivers to follow traffic rules, the responsibility to follow the rules in automatic vehicles falls on the driving system. In autonomous driving, the system chooses the best operation from information collected by the vehicle's cameras and sensors detecting its surrounding. The technology is split into levels 0 to 5 reflecting how much control the system has over a vehicle. Levels 0 through 3 have already been implemented with rules set, including revisions to laws such as the Road Traffic Act. The Japanese government divides autonomous vehicles into three forms -- mobile services like public transportation, private cars, and logistics services -- and has set differing implementation goals for each type.
Japan plans to hold owners responsible for accidents involving self-driving cars, like regular vehicles, easing liability concerns among automakers and likely accelerating commercialization efforts. The policy is part of the guidelines governing autonomous cars unveiled by the government's Council on Investments for the Future Friday. The plan is to submit related legislation to the Diet as early as 2019. "By taking concrete steps toward a legal framework, I would like Japan to take the lead in creating international rules," said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a council meeting. The guidelines are meant to set regulatory and legal direction before self-driving cars become widespread -- likely in the first half of the next decade.
The speed limit on the stretch of road where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a car crash is expected to be reduced at a council meeting later. Prince Philip, 97, was not injured in the crash on the A149 near the Queen's Sandringham estate on Thursday. Witnesses said the duke's Land Rover overturned during the collision, which happened as he drove out of a driveway. Norfolk County Council was already due to discuss safety issues on the road before the crash took place. The authority is expected to lower the maximum speed limit from 60mph to 50mph and approve installing average speed cameras on the road.