A high school student from the Frisco Independent School District in Texas has used SmartSensor Advance in his senior engineering design project to tackle a common danger at intersections – turn blindness.

June 16, 2014

FRISCO, TX—A high school student from the Frisco Independent School District in Texas has used SmartSensor Advance in his senior engineering design project to tackle a common danger at intersections – turn blindness. Jeff Ding says he has experienced turn blindness as a driver and decided to come up with a solution.

“I felt like this is a very clear problem in daily life that many people could relate to,” Ding says.

Turn blindness is a phenomenon that occurs when a left- or right-turning driver’s view of oncoming cross traffic is obstructed by other vehicles, obstacles or geographic features. This raises the risk of accidents for all drivers; the danger at some intersections is so severe, the City of Frisco prohibits right turns on red simply because of obstructed visibility.

Ding decided to use technology to help drivers turning left across traffic as well as drivers attempting to turn right on red into traffic. Working closely with the City of Frisco and Twincrest Technologies, the authorized Wavetronix channel partner in Texas, Ding selected a T-intersection where visibility is obstructed and mounted a SmartSensor Advance unit to detect oncoming traffic.

The sensor was connected to an existing red-light confirmation light; when the sensor detected an oncoming vehicle, the detection would illuminate the confirmation light, signaling to drivers that it was not safe to turn. The testing was done without the driving public’s knowledge; the indicator setup was tested to see if it modeled what drivers were currently doing.

“We set up a zero to six second ETA threshold as well as a six second extend for a conservative indication,” Ding says. “We tested this concept without informing the public but it was extremely successful as the indication times closely followed driver behavior.”

A video demonstrating Ding’s project can be found online here.?rel=0&showinfo=0" width="900" hieght="600" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Ding says the project, part of his Engineering Design and Development class, capped his four-year participation in the Project Lead the Way program offered by Frisco ISD. This program encourages students to use what they learn to invent or improve real world solutions.

“Our goal for the class from day one was to find a problem in the world that we could solve and to solve that problem by the end of the year with a prototype that we would build,” Ding says.

According to Ding, SmartSensor Advance was an important part of his project’s success. Successful testing needed to meet two specific conditions: first, the sensor had to detect all vehicles that passed through its detection zone; and second, the sensor had to successfully indicate a "not safe to turn" signal at the same time that drivers decided not to execute the turn.

“In our testing of this setup with SmartSensor Advance, both of these conditions have always been met,” Ding says. “I am excited for the implementation of this concept in the near future.”

For more information about SmartSensor Advance, click here.